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Chatterton, Edward Keble 


Sailing ships 













Chatterton, EdT/ord Koblo, 1878- 

Sailing ships: the story of their development 
from the earliest tiaes to the present day, bj' E. 
Keblo Chatterton ... London, Sidgwiok, tl914j.* 

xxi, 361 p. illus., plates, plans, 21* cm. 

Bibliography: p. 339- 343* 




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School of Business 







With a Coloured Frontispiece by Chas. Dixon, and over 130 Illustrations 
from Photographs, Models, &c. Extra Royal 8yo, 380 pages, in designed 

cover, cloth gilt. 

" This is a book that can be read with both pleasure and profit by any one 
who takes an interest in ships and the sea, which means every English man, 
woman, and child ... its author has set down all that is and ever has been 
known concerning those vessels which have navigated the ocean under sail. 
The text is helped out by a series of really beautiful illustrations. . . . From 
the Seaman's point of view the book is above all praise, as no man can write 
lovingly of ships and not deal in the technicalities of the craft of the mariner. 
This has been done here with a certainty and sureness of touch which is the 
outcome of an absolutely perfect knowledge of the subject, and at the same 
time with such clearness and simplicity of style that the land-lubber can read 
and understand. . . . There is no unnecessary wealth of detail in this book, but 
at the same time no important facts are slurred over, no important change in 
build or rig is ever missed. It is this that makes of it such eminently satisfactory 
reading. ... A work of such special and remarkable value that it is certain to 
survive as a classic on this particular subject."— Pa// Mall Gazette. 

"It is the full and complete history of the Sailing Ship from early 
Egyptian times to the present, written, not by a "dry-asdust" or a book-worm, 
but by a man who is passionately devoted to the sea. . . . The volume, as might 
only be expected of the publishers, is beautifully printed, and is filled with 
excellent illustrations shoving every shape of the development of sailing ships. 
It is impossible to do justice to Mr. Chatterton's book within a small space. 
. . . There is nothing left to be desired in the matter of plans, pictures, or 
index, and we can only offer our hearty congratulations to the author on a 
very fine piece of work.'* — The World. 

" It is not only a book that the average British boy will gloat over and 
revel in to his heart's content, but it is even one that his elders will find abundant 
interest in-— sufficient to chain their attention once they essay to dip into its pages. 
The book itself is made beautiful with a hundred and thirty illustrations, while 
It is not often that one comes across a work got up in such excellent style, or 
that does such real credit to its publishers."— 6^«//^</ Service Gazette. 

" Mr. Chatterton has the right temper and inclinations for writing a book 
of this sort. ... He has a practical knowledge of sailing, and an evident 
passion for what Stevenson called "the richest kind of idling "—hanging about 
harbours and docks and picking up sea-lore from communicative '' shellbacks." 

^%i '- 

h I 

lfcx!^n^t^'''''\w^^^^ • • • The illustrations in the book 

are excellent ... this book should be in every naval libr airy r—Sp^c/a for. 

oc Jnl^^"''^'^ °"^^ ^^y *,^^^ ^^.^ '"^'^^^ ^°°^ '' as interesting as a romance and 

drv T^n^nt'/" '" irl'^P^^*^' ""^^^ "°* ^ ^'"^^^ P^&« ^^^ b« callTd dulf or 
K^^l 7 ''"'"f °"? Illustrations are excellent and appropriate, and the who?e 
book deserves the highest praise and commendation. ''i-^^^>&J//*° ° * 

"A monument of research."— Z>a//y Mm'/, 

" Interesting and instructive . . . both timely and welcome.''— Z/«^j 
ofth^txp'^il^-V;.}.'^^^^^ °^'^« seaman as well as 

"Beautifully printed and copiously illustrated. * Sailing Ships and their 
Story will be found most interesting and instructive to everf lover o^he sea' 
... The work is one that should be found in the library of every yachtsman.^' 

Yachting World. 

*' Must be considered ... a standard vrorkJ'^ Vacating MontAfy. 

oft " ^'^li^^'^^r ^^a*;e,^to"'s final chapter on the development of the fore and 
aft rig will be of special interest to yachtsmen. "-Z^a/TK News. 

.or^ZVa7.X^^^^^^^^ • '^-"^-^l^oldfirstplaceasan authoritative 

"A work full of fascination, and abounding with accurate information." 

TAg Field. 

" It is just the sort of book to have for handy reference on board the vacht 
when one sits on deck in the gloaming of the second dog-watch sSnL^n^^^^ 
and arguing with a nautical friend. It is a book, too, for the marine artist^ Ss 
one hundred and thirty illustrations being technically correct " 

ri^Z?/a/ (Chicago). 

" Mr. Chatterton has produced a valuable hooV:*— Daily Chronicle. 

r^^l^^^l^^^^ "^'°'^^"^ ^'^^^"^^^ "°^k ^^it^ kind I have ever 

•*. . . Likely to be recognised as a standard work on the subject . . ." 

Court Journal. 

"There isn't one *dry' or uninteresting page in the whole treatise." 

Maritime Review. 

<.,Sa^^w\ '^^* wj.^' prove a veritable classic of the sea, and make of him the 
standard historian of the sailing ^\ix^:' -Nautical Magazine, 





t ^^ 




























Fimt puhlhhed 1909 
liejninted 1914 













THIS history of sailing ships has been written primarily for the 
general reader, in the hope that the sons and daughters of a 
naval nation, and ot an Empire that stretches beyond the 
seas, may find therein a record ot some interest and assistance in 
enlarging and systematising their ideas on the subject, especially as 
regards the ships of earlier centuries. It is not necessary to look 
far — no further than the poster-designs on advertisement-hoardings — 
to observe the errors into which our artists of to-day are liable to fall 
owing to lack of historical knowledge in this subject ; and to put 
(for instance) triangular headsails with a rectangular sail on the 
" bonaventure mizzen-mast *' of an early sixteenth-century ship, is 
an inaccuracy scarcely to be pardoned. 

Quite recently one of the chief librarians in one of our biggest 
national treasure-houses informed me that when an artist, who had 
been commissioned to illustrate a certain work, came to him for 
guidance as to the ships of a recent period, he was at a loss where to 













K''i ' 


lay his hands on a book which should show him what he wished to 
know by picture and description. Only after much search was the 
requisite knowledge obtained. 

I trust that both the yachtsman and sailorman will find in these 
pages something of the same exciting pleasure which has been mine 
in ti-acing the course of the evolutions through which their ships 
have passed. Those whose work or amusement it is to acquaint 
themselves with the sailing ship and her ways, and for lack of time 
and opportunity are unable to seek out the noble pedigree of what 
Ruskin truly described as " one of the loveliest things man ever 
made, and one of the noblest,'' may care to learn what were the 
changing conditions which combined to bring about such a highly 
complex creature as the modern sailing ship. Perhaps at some time 
when handling a rope, a spar, a tiller or a sail, they may have won- 
dered how it all began ; what were the origins of all those various 
parts of a ships "furniture"; why some essential portions have 
scarcely changed ; and how other portions are the outcome of time, 
experiment, and science. I hope tiiat to neither the amateur nor the 
professional sailor I shall seem impertinent if I have attempted to 
tell them something about their ship which they did not know before. 
But if, on the other hand, I shall have succeeded in increasing their 
love for the sailing-ship by outlining her career, I trust that this may 
be allowed to counterbalance the defects which, in a subject of so 
vast a scope, are hardly to be avoided in spite of considerable care 
and the generous assistance of many kind friends. 

Finally, I make my appeal to the younger generation, to whom 
ships and the sea have in all times suggested so much that is bound 
up with adventure and brave deeds. The present moment sees us at 
a stage in the history of ships when the Royal Navy as a whole, and 
the Merchant Service almost entirely, have no longer any convenience 
for sail. There is a dire need in the latter for both officers and men, 
whilst on shore the conditions of employment are exactly the reverse. 
Surely it is only by a mutual adjustment of the two that both prob- 
lems, on sea and land, can possibly be overcome ; and it is only by 
winning the enthusiasm of the boy who is to become father of the 

• • • 




man that the sailor's love for the sea can be handed on from genera- 
tion to generation. We have received from our ancestors a splendid 
heritage, a unique legacy — the mastery of the seas. That legacy 
brings with it a commensurate responsibility, to retain what our fore- 
fathers fought for so dearly. Perhaps to the healthy-minded Anglo- 
Saxon boy, not yet too blasi and civilised to feel no thrill in reading 
his Marryat, Cook, Ballantyne, Henty, Fenn, or the glorious sea- 
fights and discoveries in history itself— perhaps to him this book may 
be of some assistance in visualising the actual ships of each historical 


I desire to return thanks to many who, from motives of personal 
friendship or of love for ships, have so readily lent me their assistance 
in the course of this work. If I have omitted to include the names of 
any to whom my obligations are due it is from no sense of ingratitude. 
Especially I am anxious to return thanks to Dr. Wallis Budge and 
Mr. H. R. Hall of the Egyptian Department of the British Museum, 
as well as to the officials in other departments of the same institution, 
particularly those of the Coin Room, the Print Room, the Manuscript 
Room, Greek and Roman Antiquities, and British and Mediaeval Anti- 
quities : to Mr. Clifford Smith of the Victoria and Albert Museum, 
South Kensington, and to Mr. R. C. Flower of the Public Record 
Office for assistance in research : to Dr. Hoyle of the Manchester 
Museum for permission to use photographs of two Egyptian models : 
to the Board of Education for permission to reproduce photographs 
of models in the South Kensington Museum : to the Curator of the 
Royal Naval College Museum, Greenwich, for granting special 
facilities for studying the collection of models : to the British Consul 
at Christiania, for assistance in obtaining photographs of Viking 
ships ; to M. Ernest Leroux for permission to use the illustration of 
the navis actuaria found on the Althiburus mosaic : to the Elder 
Brethren of Trinity House, jointly with Messrs. Cassell and Co., 
for allowing me to reproduce Phineas Vett\ Royal Prince: to the 
Committee of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Ryde, for permission 
to reproduce Messrs. West's photograph of the rare print of the 
Alarm^ Fig. 113 : to Captain Roald Amundsen for the plans of the 




1 ) i 

\ II 

{ ■ 
I ' 



Gjoa : to the authorities of the British Museum for many illustra- 
tions either sketched, photographed, or reproduced from their cata- 
logues : to Lieut.-Colonel A. Leetham, Curator of the Royal United 
Service Museum, Whitehall, for permission to photograph models 
and prints : to Captain C. E. Terry for the illustration of the Sarda 
Maria : to Mr. A. E. M. Haes for the photograph of the Oimara : 
to Messrs. Camper and Nicholsons, Limited, for the plans of the 
yacht Pampas: to Messrs. White Brothers for the lines of the yacht 
Elizabeth : to Messrs. Fores for the illustrations of the Xarifa and 
Kestrel: and to Mr. H. Warington Smyth for the Nugger in' Fig. 8, 
the two illustrations of Scandinavian and Russian ships in Figs. 30 
and 31, and the American schooner in Fig. 91. I wish also to 
acknowledge Mr. Warington Smyth's extreme courtesy in offering to 
allow me to use any of the other sketches in his delightful book 
•* Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia," and only regret that circum- 
stances prevented my being able to avail myself more fully of so 
generous an offer. 

The illustrations in Figs. 26 and 27 appear by arrangement with 
Mr. John Murray: Fig. 51 by arrangement with the Clarendon 
Press, Oxford: and Figs. 30, 31, 87-90, 92, 93, 95, 102, 104, 106, 
111, 112, 114, 115, and the Plans, by arrangement with the editor of 
The Yachting Monthly, Thanks are also due to two artists skilled in 
marine subjects — to Mr. Charles Dixon for his two pictures in colour, 
at once lively and accurate ; and to Mr. Norman S. Carr, not only for 
the initial letters of the chapters, but for thirty or more sketches 
specially drawn for this book. 

Finally, I have to express my thanks to Mr. John Masefield, who 
has been kind enough to read the proofs, while the book was passing 
through the press, and to give me the benefit of his valuable advice. 

June 1909. 




List of Illustrations 
I. Introductory 
II. Early Egyptian Ships from about 6OOO b.c. 

III. Ancient Ships of Phcknicia, Greece, and Rome 

IV. The Early Ships of Northern Europe 

V. The Development of the Sailing Ship from the 
Eighth Century to the Year 1485 

VI. From Henry VII. to the Death of Elizabeth 


VII. From the Accession of James I. to the Close of the 
Eighteenth Century 

VIII. The Sailing Ship in the Nineteenth and Twentieth 

IX. The Fore-and-aft Rio and its Developments ; 
Coastkrs, Fishing Boats, Yachts, &c. 
















A Seventeenth -century English Warship To /ace title-page 
From a painting by Charles Dixon. 

Hay -Barge Headpiece to Prtface 

Sketch by N. S. Carr. 

1. Burmese Junk 

2. Norwegian " Jaegt " 

3. Egyptian Ship of about 6000 b.c. 

From an amphora found in Upper Egypt, and now in the 
British Museum (Painted Pottery of Predynastic Period, 
Case 5, No. 35324). 

4. Egyptian Ship of the Fifth Dynasty 

From wall-paintings in the Temple of Deir-el-Bahari# 

5 and 6. Model of an Egyptian Ship of the Twelfth 

Dynasty To/ace 

From a tomb at Rifeh, excavated 1906-7. Photographs by 
courtesy of Dr. Hoyle, Director of the Manchester Museum, 
where the model is preserved. 

7. Egyptian Ship To face 

From wall-paintings in the Temple of Deir-el-Bahari. 

8. An Egyptian Nugger 

Sketch by H. Warington Smyth ;irom his "Mast and Sail," 
by courtesy of the author and Mr. John Murray. 

9. Phoenician Ship 

From a coin of Sidon, c. 450 B.C., in the British Museum. 
Twice the actual size. 

10. Phoenician Ship 

From a coin of Sidon, c. 450 B.c„ in the Hunterian Collection, 
Glasgow. Twice the actual size. 










• • • 




hi ! 




11. Greek Ship 

From a Boeotian fibula of the eighth century B.C., in the 
British Museum (First Vase Room, Case D, No. 3204). 

12. Greek War Galley 59 

From a vase of about 500 B.C., in the British Museum (Second 
Vase Room, Table-case H, No. B. 436). 

18. Greek Merchantman 61 

From the same vase. 

14. Stem of a Greek Ship 64 

From a coin of Phaselis, of about the fifth century B.C., in 
the British Museum (Greek and Roman Life Room, Case 1, 
No. 36). Twice the actual size. 

15. Boar's-head Bow of a Greek Ship 

From the same coin. Twice the actual size. 

16. The Ship of Odysseus 

From a Greek vase, c. 500 B.C., in the British Museum (Third 
Vase Room, Case G, No. E. 440). 

17. Terra-cotta Model of a Greek Ship 

Model of the sixth century B.C., in the British Museum (Greek 
and Roman Life Room, Case 53, No. A. 202). 

18. A Coin of Apollonia, showing Shape of Anchor 

Coin of about 420 B.C., in the British Museum (Greek and 
Roman Life Room, Case 2, No. 21). Twice the actual size. 

19. A Roman Wai*ship 

From Lazare de Baif 's *' Annotationes . . . de re navali," Paris, 
1536, p. 164. 

20. Roman Ship 

From the same book, p. 167. 

«1. Roman Merchant Ships To face 

From a relief, c. 200 a.d. 

22. Roman Ship entering Harbour 

From an earthenware lamp, c. 200 A.D.,Mn the British Museum 
(Greek and Roman Life Room, Case 53, No. 518). 

23. Fishing-boat in Harbour 

From another lamp, as the last. 




^^ I 24. Navis Actuaria 

From a recently discovered mosaic at Althiburus, near Tunis ; 
reproduced by kind permission from M. Leroux' " Monuments 
et M^moires," Paris, 1905. 

25. The Viking Boat dug up at Brigg, Lincolnshire To face 

From a photograph, taken during its excavation in 1886, and 
supplied by Mr. John Scott, of Brigg. 

26. Ancient Scandinavian Rock-carving 

From Du Chaillu's " Viking Age," by courtesy of Mr. John 








27. Viking Ship-form Grave 

From the same. 

28. The Gogstad Viking Ship 

From a photograph by 0. Voering, Christiania. 

29. The Gogstad Viking Ship 

From a photograph by 0. Voering, Christiania. 






To fact 112 

To face 113 

30. Norwegian Ship 120 

From a sketch by H. Warington Smyth, by courtesy of the artist. 

SI. Russian Ship 121 

As the last. 

82. Harold's Ships ; from the Bayeux Tapestry Tofau 128 

From a photograph of the replica at South Kensington. 

88. William the Conqueror's Ships ; from the Bayeux Tapestry 129 
As the last. 

84. Lading Arms and Wine ; from the Bayeux Tapestry 160 

As the last. 

85. Mediterranean Warship of the Thirteenth Centifry 142 

From a drawing. 

86. A Fourteenth-century Dromon 144 

/ From a drawing. 

37. Seal of Winchelsea 160 

From the original in the British Museum. Artinl siie. 

b XT 











I f 


88. Seal of Hastings 

From the original in the British MnseHm. Actual eize. 

39. Thirteenth-century English Ship To/aeg 

From the model by Frank H. Mason, now in the South Ken- 
sington Museum. 

40. Seal of Dam, West Flanders 

From the original in the British Museum. Actual size. 

41. Panel of the Shrine of St. Ursula, after Memlinc (1489) 

42. Seal of La Rochelle 

From the original in the British Museum. Actual size. 

43. A Caravel of the End of the Fifteenth Century To/ace 

From the model by Frank H. Mason, now in the South Ken- 
sington Museum. 

44. A Fifteenth-centuiy Caravel To /ace 

From the model in the United Service Museum, Whitehall. 

45. Columbus's Flagship, the Sa7ita Maria To/ace 

By courteiy of Capt. C. E. Terry, from the model constructed 
by him. 

46. The French Cordeliere and the English Regent To fact 

From MS. Fr. 1672 in the Biblioth^que Nationale, Paris • re- 
produced by courtesy of Prof. W. Bang, Louvain, from' the 
" Enterlude of Youth," 1905. 

47. The Embarkation of Henry VIII. at Dover in 1520 To fact 

Showing the Henri GrAce <i Dieu. Photograph by W. M. 
Spooner & Co., from the painting by Holbein at Hampton 
Court Palace. 

48. Two of Henry VHI.'s Ships— The Murrian To face 

49. Two of Henry VHI.'s Ships— The Struse Toface 

From a roll of 1546 in the Pepysian Library, Cambridge by 
kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Magdalene 
College. ® 

50. The ArTc Royal, Elizabeth's Flagship. Built in 1587 Toface 

From a contemporary print in the British Museum. 

51. Elizabethan Man-of-war Toface 

From F. P. Barnard's "Companion to Enelish Historv" 
(Clarendon Preii, 1902). ^ ^ 















52. The Spanish Armada coming up Channel Toface ^{^l 

From "The Tapestry Hangings of the House of Lords," 
engraved by John Pine, 1739. 

53. The Blaclc Pinnesse, which brought Home the Body of 

Sir P. Sidney j,^^^^ g^g 

From " Celebritas et Pompa Funeris," &c., by T. Lant, 1587. 

54. A Galleon of the Time of Elizabeth Toface 209 

From a contemporary print in the British Museum. 
&5. Spanish Galleons y^^„,^ c^l^ 

From a print in the British Museum, c. 1560. 

56. Spanish Treasure-Frigate of about 1590 Toface 215 

Se'^Re^c^o^rds'offife ^'"''"'"^ ^^ ^" ^"^lish spy, by permission of 

57. Mediterranean Galley giy 

Sketched from a model iu the South Kensington Museum. 

58. An Early Seventeenth-century Galley Toface 218 

From Joseph Furttenbach's " Architectura Navalis," 1629. 

59. A Full-rigged Ship of the Early Seventeenth Century Toface 219 

From the same. 

60. The Prince Roijal ^^^^,^^ 

l\Tr Ti!.r'"*'"li^* Ju""^*y °^"^^' ^y permission of the 
Mder Bret^iren Block by arrangement with Messrs. Cassell & 
Co., from Traill and Mann's " Social England," iv. 69. 

61. The Sovereign of the Seas. Built in 1637 Toface ggo 

From an engraving in the British Museum. 

62. Bomb Ketch 

Toface Qcin 
From a print in the United Service Museum, Whitehall. 

63. The Royal Charles. Built in 1672 Toface ^37 

From the model in the South Kensington Museum. 

64. A Dutch Man-of-war of about the End of the Seventeenth 

^^^"*^'^ Toface 246 

From the model in the United Service Museum, Whitehall. 

65. The Terrible, a Two-decker captured from the French in 

P . , . , Toface 247 

*rom a prmt m the United Service Museum, Whitehall. 



lI \ 




To face 
To face 

QQ, H.M.S. Royal George, 100 guns, 2047 tons. Foundered 
in 1782 To/cm 

From an engraving by T. Baston, in the British Museum. 

67. Nelson's Victory. 2162 tons. Built in 1765 

From a photograph by S. Cribb. 

68. The Stern of H.M.S. Victory, showing Poop Lfvutems 

From a photograph by S. Cribb. 

69. Corvette, 340 tons, of about 1780 

From the model in the South Kensington Museum. 

70. The Newcastle, an East Indiaman 

Photograph by Hughes & Son, Ltd. 

71. Spithead : Boat's Crew recovering an Anchor 

From a photograph by Hanf staengl of the paintmg by J. M. W. 
Turner in the National Gallery. 

72. A West Indiaman of 1820 

From a print in the British Museum. 

73. The Ariel and Taeping, September 1866 

From an engraving in the South Kensington Museum. 

74. The Iron Clipper Stonehouse. Built in 1866 

From the model in the South Kensington Museum. 

75. The Iron Barque Macquarie, Built in 1875 

Photograph by Hughes & Son, Ltd. 

76. The Desdemona, Built in 1875 

Photograph by Hughes,& Son, Ltd. 

77. The Olive Bank, Steel Four-masted Barque. Built in 

1892 To fact 

Photograph by J. Adamson & Son, Rothesay. 

78. A Modem Four-masted Barque, and the Mauretania To /ace 

From a painting by Charles Dixon. 

79. The Queen Margaret, Built in 1893 To/ace 

With Fig. 76. Photograph by Hughes & Son, Ltd. 

80. A First-rater of 1815, showing Details of Spars and 

Rigging To /ace 




To/ae* 251 


To race 260 
To/ace 228 


To /ace 

To /ace 


To /ace 









81. Full-rigged Ship 279 

Sail-plan, with referenced list of names. 

82. From "River Scene with Sailing Boats."" By Jan Van 

der Cappelle 285 

Sketched from the original painting, No. 964 in the National 

83. A Modern Dutch Schuyt 286 

84. " A Fresh Gale at Sea.'' By W. Van der Welde 287 

Sketched from the original painting, No. 150 in the National 

85. " River Scene.'' By W. Van der Welde 288 

Sketched from the original painting, No. 978 in the National 

86. The Bawley 290 

87. The Schooner Pinkie (1800-50) 294 

88. The Fredmia, Built in 1891 295 

89. Gloucester Schooner, a.d. 1901 296 

90. Gloucester Schooner, a.d. 1906 297 

91. An American Four-masted Schooner 298 

Sketched by H. Warington Smyth ; from his " Mast and Sail,* 
by com-tesy of the author and Mr. John Murray. 

92. A Barquentine off the South Foreland 

93. Barquentine with Stun's'ls 

94. The Fantome, 18-ton Brig. Launched 1838 

From the model in the South Kensington Museum. 

95. H.M.S. Martin, Training-Brig. Launched 1836 

96. A Hermaphrodite Brig 

97. The Tillikum, Schooner-rigged *' Dug-out " 

98. Lowestoft Drifter 

99. Thames Barge 


To /ace 292 

To /ace 



*< . **. 




100. Norfolk Wherry 

Dhow-rigged Yacht 

From the model in the South Kensington Museum, 

102. Suez Dhows, with a Sibbick Rater 

Sketched by H. P. Butler. 

103. Mediterranean Felucca 

Sketched from the model in the South Kensington Museum. 

104. Hailam Junk 

Sketched by H. Warington Smyth. 

106. Chinese Junk 

Sketched from the model in the South Kensington Museum, 

106. Blankenberg Boat 

107. French " Chasse-Mar^e " 

108. Scotch « Zulu " 

109. Penzance Lugger 

110. Deal Galley Punt 

111. The Yacht Kestrel Owned by the Earl of Yarborough 


112. The Yacht Xarifa. Owned by the Earl of Wilton To /ace 

113. The Schooner Alarm. Rebuilt 1852 To face 

Photograph by G. West & Son from a print, by kind per- 
mission of the Committee of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, 

The Oimara. Built in 1867 

The Bloodhound. Built in 1874 

The Schooner- Yacht Sunbeam. Owned by Lord Brassey. 

Photograph by West & Son. To/ace 

The Yawl Jullanar. Built in 1875 

From the m©del in the South Kensington Museum. 

The Satanita. Built in 1893 

Photograph by West & Son 



3b /bee 300 











To face 318 
To/act 318 



To/ace 322 


119. King Edward VII.'s Cutter Britannia. Launched 1893 

Photograph by S. Cribb. To/ac* 

120. The Valkyrie I. Owned by the Earl of Dunraven To foe* 

Photograph by West & Son. 

121. The Ship-rigged Yacht Valhalla, Built in 1892 ibfact 

Photograph by West & Son. 

122. The American Cup Defender Columbia. Launched in 

1899 To/ace 

Photograph by West & Son. 

123. The Schooner- Yacht Meteor. Owned by H.M. the 

German Emperor To /ace 

Photograph by S. Cribb. 

124. White Heather II., 23-Metre Cutter To face 

Photograph by West & Son. 

125. Shamrock IV., 23-Metre Cutter. Launched 1908 ib/ace 

Photograph by West & Son. 








1. The Gjoa: Sail and Rigging Plan (see p. 291). 

2. „ „ Longitudinal Section (see p. 291). 
8. „ „ Deck Plan (see p. 292). 

4. The Royal Sovereign, George III.'s Yacht (see p. 322). 

6. Schooner Elizabeth: Sail Plan (see p. 331). 

6. » n Deck Plan (see p. 331). 

7. 99 ,9 Longitudinal Section (see p. 331). 

8. Schooner Pampas : Sail and Rigging Plan (see p. 332). 

9. «9 f» Longitudinal and Horizontal Sections (i 

p. 332). 


niihn^ I 


i; mis 



SHORT time ago one of our Naval 
Museums came into possession of a 
certain model of a sailing ship. She 
was a fine vessel, one of the first of 
the old " wooden walls " to be built 
in the reign of the late Queen. The 
Curator wisely determined to have 
this model fully rigged with all her 
spars, sails, and gear, just as the 
original had been in her days of 

active service. Every detail was 

correct ; every halyard and brace were made of propor- 
tionate thickness. Even the right kind of " stuff " was 
found, after some difficulty, for the cable. An efficient 
rigger, too, was found, who happened to have served on 
this same ship. 

Finally, when the model was completed the Curator 
looked at it and said, " N'ow it will be possible for those 
who come after us to tell exactly how a sailing ship was 
rigged ; in a few years' time there won't be a man alive 
who will know how to do it." 

It is with a similar desire, to preserve all that can be 
gathered, that an attempt is made in the present book to 
collect into one continuous narrative the historical data 
available concerning the evolution of that fast-disappearing 
object — the sailing ship. With the advent of steam was 


hoisted the signal for abolishing sail ; and although for a 
long time the famous old cUppers put up a keen light, yet 
for commercial purposes, when passengers and mails, 
merchandise and perishable food, had to be hurried from 
one side of the world to the other without loss of time, it 
became impossible for a sailing ship, that depended so 
entirely on the mercy of wind and weather, to compete 
successfully with the steamship. By 1840, it will be 
remembered, steamers had commenced crossmg the 
Atlantic, and within the next ten or fifteen years the 
sailing ship, except for such long voyages as to China, 
AustraUa, and other distant countries, was for ever doomed. 
Perhaps these beautiful creatures, oversparred and under- 
manned though they are nowadays, will be allowed, in 
spite of competition and low freights, to remain with us 
a Uttle longer. It is probable that the mtroduction of the 
motor, instead of assisting to complete the departure ot 
sails, will help in their behig retained : for it has now been 
found commercially profitable to instal the internal-com- 
bustion engine in ships of a size not exceeding about seven 
hundred tons. By this means sail can be used in a fair 
wind, and the motor can take her along in calms, as well 
as in tolerable weather against a head wind. In entering 
harbours and leaving there will also be a saving of the 
charge for a tug. Perhaps when the marine-motor in- 
dustry has become more perfect it will be possible to fit a 
sufficiently powerful motor to a 4000-ton barque. 

If that should be possible, then it would be indeed 
welcome news to hear that the sluicing ebb of sailing ships 
and sailormen had stopped. (For, of course, no one nowa- 
days, except perhaps the lady passenger, would ever think 
of honouring the marine mechanics on board a liner or 
battleship with the title of " sailor," whose knowledge of 
seamanship is so elementary that they can as a rule 
neither sail a boat nor make a splice, let alone go up 
aloft.) But at present, when it is difhcult to get enough 


officers and men for the steam merchant service, it is 
doubtful if the saiUng ship, except in the case of a few 
deep-sea vessels and the coasters, fishermen, pilots, and 
yachts round our coasts, will be encouraged to remain 

with us. 

In setting forth whatever may be of interest in the 
following pages I have, following the example of that 
illustrious Elizabethan, Richard Hakluyt, taken " infinite 
cares," travelled many miles from port to port to talk with 
every kind of sailorman — deep-sea, coaster, or yacht's hand 
— with fishermen, pilots, shipbuilders, riggers, marine archi- 
tects, and sail-makers. In addition to this, I have been 
fortunate in gaining access to libraries containing, in 
various languages and of both ancient and modem date, 
invaluable accounts of ships of earlier days. The study of 
coins (curiously overlooked by some writers on ancient 
ships) has enabled me to submit some definite knowledge 
concerning craft of the classical age. The study of old 
fonts in this country, especially in those churches which 
were dedicated in the name of St. Nicholas, the patron 
of sailors, has helped to confirm the otherwise scanty 
evidence for the period between the tenth and four- 
teenth centuries. But perhaps the most valuable and 
interesting material is the illustration of an Egyptian 
sailing ship of the XII. Dynasty. This model, rigged 
for sailing up and rowing down the Nile, will be discussed 
in Chapter II. Hitherto we have had to depend for our 
knowledge of Egyptian ships on the illustrations found on 
the tombs. Although in recent years some models of 
boats have been discovered in these tombs, yet that which 
I am enabled to reproduce (Figs. 5 and 6) is the only one 
showing the boat properly rigged that has hitherto been 
unearthed. This model was discovered in the season of 
1906-1907 at Rifeh, by Professor FUnders Petrie, and is 
the finest example that has yet reached England. It is 
now in the Manchester Museum, and I am indebted to 

I ^. 







Dr. Hoyle, the Director of the Museum, for his courtesy 
in enabling me to reproduce this very interesting model 

Notwithstanding the deplorable fact that there are gaps 
existing at those critical stages where information would 
be the most welcome, it is nevertheless possible to 
construct a fairly continuous narrative of the development 
of the sailing ship. It will be noticed that in addition to 
the information to be found in ancient tombs of Egypt 
we have the evidence of ancient coins, vases, terra-cotta 
and wooden models, lamps, monuments, excavations in 
Scandinavia, England, Scotland, Germany. Coming to 
more modern times, there is the Bayeux Tapestry, with its 
excellent copy in the South Kensington 5luseum. We 
have, too, the pictorial representations on ancient seals 
and coins of this country. There are some reproductions 
of ships in old manuscripts ; but it is an unfortunate fact 
that, except in comparatively modern times, it is rare to 
find the ship commemorated in paintings. Even when it is 
found, it is often represented with less regard to marine 
accuracy than to pictorial effect. When one considers 
the high position both A^enice and Genoa occupied during 
the Aliddle Ages, alike in respect of art and maritime 
pursuits, it is difficult to understand why so remarkably 
few pictures of ships remain to us among the Old Masters. 
In both religious and secular paintings the ship is con- 
spicuous by its absence. Perhaps it may be that artists 
had not received sufficient encouragement to paint marine 
subjects and that the gulf which to-day exists between 
the landsman and the sailor was equally great then. 

However, various painters have seen fit to take the 
Pilgrimage of St. Ursula as their theme. Memlinc's 
celebrated panels on the reliquary of that saint, now in St. 
John's Hospital, Bruges, are of interest for our purpose, 
for no fewer than four of the six panels contain pictures of 
ships belonging to the period of the artist. The date of 


these miniatures is some time not later than the year 1489. 
Old printed books of the sixteenth century onwards fre- 
quently contain illustrations of ships of the time. Among 
the books, for instance, presented to the South Kensington 
Museum on the death of Lady Dilke will be found an in- 
teresting illustrated French translation of the Acts of the 
Apostles. The ships (of mediaeval design) illustrating the 
Voyages of St. Paul are of value as showing the rig and 
details of the craft contemporary with the artist. These 
and similar illustrations, excepting always when the artist 
has become too fantastic and imaginative, are important links 
in connecting the story of the ships of ancient days with the 
modern full-rigged ship. Coming down to the seventeenth 
century, the paintings of the Dutch artists Jan Van de 
CappeUe, of Willem Van de Velde the younger, Bak- 
huizen, Ruisdael, and Cuyp give us the most interesting 
details as to rigging and hull. Claude's picture, in the 
National Gallery, of the " Embarkation of St. Ursula," 
painted towards the end of the seventeenth century, shows 
the high-pooped ship of his own day. Charles Brooking 
of the eighteenth century. Turner and Clarkson Stanfield 
of the nineteenth, show us in their pictures many invalu- 
able minutiae of sailing ships. And even if Ruskin's 
criticism hold good, that Stanfield's ships never look 
weather-beaten but "always newly painted and clean," 
yet for our purpose this is no disadvantage ; and it will be 
appreciated still more in a few years when our descendants 
go into art galleries to seek out from contemporary paint- 
ings the appearance of ships of the Victorian period. 

Happily the ships of our day have been perpetuated 
by such admirable marine artists as Moore, Wyllie, Vicat 
Cole, Napier Hemy, Dixon, Somerscales, Tuke, and 
others. But in addition to pictures, we have at hand 
some hundreds of models of vessels in the South Ken- 
sington Museum, the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 
the Royal United Service Museum, Whitehall, in the 


Louvre, in Continental churches, museums, and arsenals, 
and in many private collections. Some of these models 
in Greenwich and South Kensington have been rigged 
from historical information in the museums themselves. 
It is impossible to deny the important influence that 
these wonderful little ships may have on the youthful 
minds of our nation, which has had the privilege for so 
many years of being called maritime. But to the student 
of ships of any age they are the greatest aid in assisting 
him — far greater, indeed, than pages of description, far 
greater also than the work of any painter — to realise the 
vessels that carried our ancestors across the seas. I am as 
certain that we owe to the Government the greatest 
thanks for putting these facilities before the pubhc as I 
am uncertain that the same public appreciates them in the 
manner they deserve. 

From all these sources, then, already enumerated, we 
are to begin to reconstruct as far as possible the ships of 
all ages. If we should be accused of arguing at times by 
inference without actual facts before us, let us be allowed 
to say this much: there are signs in a ships lines and 
rigging which, to the landsman, are devoid of meaning, 
but to the man who has been wont to handle ships, and 
perhaps to design and build them, they are full of signifi- 
cance. Generally speaking, to the former a model is a 
nicely-carved piece of wood, adorned with a maze of 
complicated strings. Curves of hull, the position of the 
masts, the amount of sail area aft or forward, go for 
nothing. To the expert every inch of rope has its definite 
value, every hne of her design speaks of speed or sea- 
worthiness, or of the opposite. The careful balance of 
sails will show whether she is, to use sailor slang, "as 
handy as a gimlet " or as hard-mouthed a beast as ever 
was governed by a rudder. Therefore, if, in looking at 
the lines and rig of a ship of the Phoenicians, we should 
say, without being able to quote any historian of antiquity, 



that she would never go to windward because her sail area 
was deficient and her draught of water too slight, and 
assume from this that the Phoenicians always waited for a 
fair wind or rowed with oars, we must not be accused of 

f)roving too much. This is not a matter for the archseo- 
ogist, but for the practised mariner with some knowledge 
of the theory of his art. Any sailor, for instance, on look- 
ing at a model or illustration of a Burmese junk (see Fig. 1), 
would tell you at once that her lines and rig are such as 
would make her useless for going against the wind. He 
knows this by inference. As tijact, he learns afterwards 
that, hke the boats of the Egyptians — which she much 
resembles in general shape, in mast, and in sail — these 
junks can only sail before the wind (which is usually 
favourable) in ascending the river Irawadi, and return 
with the current. 

A nation exhibits its characteristics, its exact state of 
progress and degree of refinement in three things : its art, 
its literature, and its ships. Indeed we might go so far 
as to affirm that these last are but a branch of the first. 
Just as the house was at first merely a thing of utility, 
becoming in the course of time adorned with carvings and 
decoration, so the ship, from being the rough, clumsy dug- 
out, with the advance of civilisation becomes adorned at 
first with animals* heads, with eyes, with a human head, 
with coloured hull, and at a subsequent stage with sails 
bearing devices of high artistic merit. Finally, gilded 
portholes and gilded sterns were added to the ship, so 
that, to quote the description of Charles I.'s Sovereign 
of the Seas, "she was so gorgeously ornamented with 
carving and gilding that she seemed to have been designed 
rather for a vain display of magnificence than for the 
service of the State." 

The development of the ship, then, is parallel to the 
development of the State. In the rude ages she is a 
rough creature, remaining more like the tree out of which 

Fio. 1. Burmese Junk, 


she is made than a thing of being. In the hands of a 
nation that has reached a high degree of civiUsation, 
though she is still made of oak from the forest, yet she 
has lost all resemblance to the tree-trunk. Instead, she 
has acquired a most wonderful personality of her own. 
The wood of the tree has become merely the means of 
expressing the most admirable combination of delicacy 
and strength, of slender lines and powerful masses. 

Thus we must go to the East, the birthplace of 
civiHsation, to trace the beginnings of our subject. We 
shall for this reason start from Egypt and Phoenicia, 
and, tracing the development through Greek and Roman 
times, advance to Northern and Western Europe and 
further west still to America. And in covering a period 
of roughly 8000 years, in spite of the enormous difference 
in time, in nations, in geographical and other conditions, 
we shall find that no feature is more amazing than the 
extraordinary spirit of conservatism which has spread 
itself universally over both ships and their sailors. So 
remarkable are the examples of this, even under widely 
opposed conditions, that I have thought it worth while 
here to submit some of the more important ones as being 
worthy of special consideration. 

First, let us take the shape of the Egyptian ship, from 
which the Greeks and Romans eventually obtained their 
shipbuilding ideas. The high poop and the rockered bow 
with its bold sweep aft have, it is not too much to assert, 
influenced the whole world s shipping ever since. True, 
the ancient galleys of the Greeks and Romans possess a 
straighter keel and a pointed bow. But this was done 
for a purpose. These galleys were fighting ships ; and as 
the ram had to be placed forward in such a manner that 
keel, stempost, and strut-frames centred their combined 
force at the extreme point, the shape of the bow could not 
follow that of the Egyptians. The keel, too, was flat and 
stvaight, because it was the custom of the Greeks and 




Homans to haul their galleys ashore nearly every night 
Again, we must bear in mind that the Roman or Greek 
war vessel was primarily a rowing boat and not a sailing 
ship, and that mast and sail were always lowered before 
going into battle. Yet, for all that, the Greek vases bear- 
mg pictures of war galleys still show the Egyptian stern. 
But when we come to consider the Greek and Roman 
merchant ships, we find the Egyptian stem and a modified 
Egyptian bow unmistakably present. And we must 
remember that the merchant ships were primarily sailing 
ships and only used their oars as auxiliaries. 

Throughout the ages many of these general lines of the 
Egyptian ships have been followed. We see them appear- 
ing in the prehistoric ships of Norway, in the Viking ships 
of old, and in the ships of the Baltic to-day. We see this 
conservatism in the ships of the twelfth, thirteenth, and 
fourteenth centuries, in the caravels and caracks and galleons 
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We see it down 
to about the time of the Royal George in 1746 ; and even 
since then, when the great sweep from bow up to the 
extreme height of the poop-deck was modified until it 
practically disappeared, yet we find traces of it in the 
forecastle and raised quarter-deck of the modem saiUng 
ship. And to continue the argument one step further, I 
suppose if you could by sending a current of electricity 
through one of the Egyptian naval architects, now lying 
as a mummy in one of our museums, bring him to 
life, so that you might take him to see the yachts racing 
during Cowes Week, he would not hesitate to say that 
such ships as White Heather II. and the newest Shamrock 
were based on the designs he had made for his masters 
under the Twelfth Dynasty. If the reader will take the 
trouble of comparing the Rifeh model (Figs. 5 and 6) with 
the hues of the latest British yachts now being built un«; er 
the new universal mle, and then recollect how many ye&rs 
have passed in the interim, he will not cease to wond'-r 
W) V, 


that the same " overhang " at bow and stern is as prevalent 
on the Solent as it was on the Nile, Whatever else these 
facts may prove, they certainly show what a high state of 
civiUsation the Egyptian had attained ; more, perhaps, than 
I we realise at present. The naval architects of that time 
must indeed have lacked as little that we could teach them 
in design nowadays as — we know from subsequent excava- 
I tions~the shipbuilders of Viking times could learn from 
I our shipbuilders of to-day. 

An additional proof of the wisdom and knowledge of 

the ancients is to be found in the rig of their ships. The 

squaresail of the Egyptians was very like that used sub- 

Isequently by the Greeks and Romans, and afterwards by 

the Vikings and many of the Norwegian and Russian 

j ships to-day. It survived, moreover, beyond the Middle 

I Ages, the only important difference being that three and 

sometimes two adaitional masts were provided with square- 

j sails, with a lateen sail on the mizzen and a sprit sail 

j and sprit topsail forward. Thus, though the headsails of 

a modern full-rigged ocean ship have been altered during 

the last hundred and fifty years, yet the arrangement of 

her lower courses is practically that of the single sail of 

the Egyptians, omitting for the present certain details 

I which do not alter the method of harnessing the wind as 

a means of propulsion. They had in these early times 

learned the value of stretching a sail on yards. They 

had, besides, understood where to place backstays and a 

|forestav to support the mast, and they had adopted the 

use of braces to the yards as well as of topping lifts. 

The eyes painted on the ships of the Greeks and 
Romans still survive to-day in the hawse holes on either 
side of a ship's bow. And this belief of the ancients that 
by means of these eyes the vessel could see her way was 
but one article in the general creed still shared by every 
sailor, amateur and professional alike, that a ship, of all 
the creations of man, is indeed a living thing. Mr. F. T. 


' V 


BuUen, in a delightfiil little essay, has demonstrated the 
varying ways in which a ship will manifest her personality. 

Ik" V ^''l °^ ^^^ ^^^ ^^'- B""«» ^'so remarks : 
Kiplmg has done more, perhaps, than any other livine 

writer to point out how certain fabrics of man s construe 

JTk^'^i?'"! '""T^f ^^^ individuality of an unmis- 
takable kind, and of course so acute an observer cannot 
tail ^to notice how pre-eminently is this the case with 

Though you may build two ships on the same yard 
from the same plans by the same builder, yet their per- 
sonalities are different. The yachtsmen who elect to have 
a wie-design class know very well that though you may 
raffle as to the ownership of each ship, yet there will 
always be one or two of the fleet that will be superior to 
the rest. But the ancients were before the yachtsmen in 
discovering that a mere contrivance of wood and metal 
should have a distinct character of its own 

The decoration of the bow and stem of the ship has 
existed for many hundreds of years ; and though the 
figurehead was especially prominent during the Middle 
Ages. It is now fast disappearing both from saUing ships of 
commerce and from yachts also. On steamers it is hardly 
ever seen except on the steam yacht. The decorated stern 
too, so prevalent up to the eighteenth century, has now 
vanished ; although the final traces of this may be noticed 
m the old-fashioned architecture to which the modem 
Royal steam yachts of this country still cling, and in the 
gold beading which frequently ornaments the name of a 
steamship under her stern. 

In Northern latitudes we find the most extraordinary 
cases of histoncal obstinacy ; the rig and hull of the Scan- 
dinavians have remained practically unaltered for some two 
or three thousand years. The very word "snekkia" 
apphed to the ancient longships of the Scandinavians, is 
still used to-day. Moreover, the « bonnet." which was 


attached to the foot of the sail to give additional area — 
unlaced, of course, in dirty weather — was used by the 
Vikings ; was adopted from them by the ships of mediaeval 
England ; and is still used to-day by the ships of Scandi- 
navia, and in England by the Lowestoft " drillers " that go 

Fio. 2. Norwegian " Jargt." 

forth to fish in tlie North Sea, as well as by the pleasure 
and trading wherries that sail up and down the Norfolk 
Broads. Fig. 2 shows a Norwegian " jaegt," with bonnet 
and bowlines. 

The influence of this dogged conservative spirit of the 
Norwegians is to be seen extending over Great Britain in 
other ways. No one who has visited the Orkney and 
Shetland Isles can have failed to have noticed the close 
similarity between their boats and those of the Norwegian. 
Until about forty years ago their fishing boat was exactly 
a Norwegian " yawl," the most obvious descendant from the 
lines of a Viking ship. Indeed, until about the year 1860 
all the larger fishing boats of the Shetlands were imported 
in boards direct from Norway ready for putting together 






at Lerwick The type is still further preserved in the 
whale-boats that are despatched from the mother ships in 
various parts of the world to harpoon the cachalot. And 
not to weary the reader with yet more examples of the 
great mfluence which these Viking ships have £ad on the 
naval architecture of our country, it is interesting to 
remark that the latest fashion in yacht design is the so- 
called canoe-stern or " double-ender." Th^, of course 
derives its inspiration from the Norwegian ships of the 
present day ; and, as we have already said, they in their 
turn have conservatively held to the models of their 
ancestors. Whether, as some have thought, the Viking 
" double-ender can trace a direct descent^from the ships 

cha tf/ ^^ ^ ^"^^"^^ ^^ ^""^^ ^^^^^ ^^ '^^^^b^^ 

Next to the squaresail rig, none has survived so per- 
sistently as the lateen. I think that in all probability it 
was adapted, a few centuries before the introduction of 
Christiamty, from the Egyptian squaresail. Its verv 
appearance and the corner of the world in which it i^ 
lound as the prevailing rig both suggest that. It is 
reasonable to assume that in the course of years, when the 
more experienced Easterns began to discover the art of 
saihng agamst the wind and to find that the riff of the 
^ile boats was not suitable for this, there would be 
evolved a modification of the Egyptian sail to allow of 

J,^^''^A^. ^fa^^; F^^^bly» was the origin of the lateen sail 
of the dhow. It IS of extreme antiquity, and has endured 
with but little alteration from the time^f AlSander t^^^ 
Great, about 350 B.C The prevalence of this kind of 
rig m the Red Sea the Indian Ocean, off the East Coast 
of Africa, especially as far south as Zanzibar, is well 
known The fact that it is still found everywhere up and 
down the Mediterranean, on the Nile and TswL fakes 
shows how firmly established did this lateen rig become in 
the course of time. As we shall see, at a subsequent stage 


the lateen sail was adopted by our mediaeval ships for the 
mizzen, and this continued right down till the close of the 
eighteenth century. It will assist us to reaUse this con- 
servatism if we remember that the ships of St. Paul's time 
were of a similar kind to these Eastern ships of which we 
are now speaking. Let me here be allowed to quote again 
from an author who has sailed in every sea and been pre- 
served to tell us in so many charming records what many 
others have seen but not troubled to notice. In a further 
essay on " The Sea in the New Testament " Mr. Bullen, 
referring to the ships in which St. Paul voyaged, remarks : 
" On the East African coast, even to this day, we find 
precisely the same kind of vessels, the same primitive 
ideas of navigation, the same absence of even the most 
elementary notions of comfort, the same touching faith in 
its being always fine weather as evinced by the absence of 
any precautions against a storm. 

" Such a vessel as this [i.e., St. Paul's] carried one huge 
sail bent to a yard resembling a gigantic fishing-rod, whose 
butt, when the sail was set, came nearly down to the deck, 
while the tapering end soared many feet above the mast- 
head. As it was the work of all hands to hoist it, and 
the operation took a long time, when once it was hoisted 
it was kept so if possible, and the nimble sailors, with their 
almost prehensile toes, climbed by the scanty rigging and, 
cUnging to the yard, gave the sail a bungling furl." Again, 
referring to the sailors' activities on the ship in which St. 
Paul was sailing, Mr. Bullen goes on : " They sounded 
and got twenty fathoms, and in a little while found the 
water had shoaled to fifteen. Then they performed a piece 
of seamanship which may be continually seen in execution 
on the East African coast to-day — they let their anchors 
down to their full scope of cable and prayed for daylight. 
The Arabs do it in fair weather or foul— lower the sail, 
slack down the anchor, and go to sleep. She will bring 
up before she hits anything." I have received a like 




testimony from one who has also cruised in those parts 
within recent years. 

The prevalence of the fighting top has been maintained 
from the time of the Egyptians down to the present day. 
To mention but a few instances, the fighting top is seen in 
a battleship of Rameses III. (about b.c. 1200), and it is 
found on ancient seals of the thirteenth century of the 
present era, and so on, of course, through the Middle 
Ages to our latest battleships. 

From the times of the Egyptians the stern was always 
reserved for the owner or captain and officers. This custom 
was that of the Greeks, the Romans, the Vikings, and the 
English right down to the buUding of H.M.S. Dreadrumgld 
a short while ago, when the longstanding practice of the 
officers being quartered aft and the men forward was for 
the first time broken, to the satisfaction, I understand, of 
neither officers nor men. There has always been a sense 
of reverence on the part of the sailor for the poop-deck, 
and though in the Merchant Service many of the old 
ways have recently disappeared, yet the custom in the 
Navy, of " saluting the deck " in honour of the Sovereign 
is, of course, well known. In ancient illustrations we see 
the place of honour always placed aft. 

Finally we must needs refer to the extraordinary 
longevity of the Mediterranean galley. Adapted from 
the Egyptians by the Greeks and afterwards the Romans, 
it flourished, especially in the Adriatic, up to the six- 
teenth century in a modified form, and only the advent 
of steam finally closed its career. Even now the 
gondola will be recognised as bearing a family likeness, 
and the prow of the latter still shows the survival 
of the spear-heads which were used in the manoeuvre of 

These, then, are some of the characteristics that have 
been persistent during the course of development of the 
sailing ship. Each national design and each nation's rig 


u-e the survival of all that has been found to be the best for 
hat particular locality. The more ships a nation buUds. 
the more they sail to other ports— seeing other kinds of 
ships, comparing them with their own, and adopting what- 
ever IS worth while-so much the faster does the ship im- 
prove. Ihis, indeed, has been the custom throughout the 
. ?l^ »^ ^}^ ^^S^^^ nation. When she sent her ships 
to the Mediterranean at the time of the Crusades, her 
sailore returned home with new ideas. Thus, the ships in 
which Richard, with his large fleet, voyaged to Palestine 
m 1190 would be still of the Viking type. Only a hun- 
dred and thirty years had elapsed since WiUiam the 
Conqueror landed m simUar boats, as we know from 
the Bayeux tapestry. When Richard was in the Mediter- 
ranean he was joined by a number of galleys. It is not 
assuming too much to say that an exchange of visits 
would be made between the crews of the respective ships. 
Ihe difference m ships would most certainly be criticised, 
for of all people who mhabit this planet, none are more 
critical of each others possessions than sailormen. The 
Mediterranean inhabitants, having reached civilisation 
earher than the dwellers of Northern Europe, and having 

5!i \? Tf"*!^^ f ^•J'"^ °«"«''' ^^^ historically and 
geographicaUy. to the first builders of ships, would no 
doubt have been far m advance of the shipbuilders of 
Kl™ f "'T:. Therefore, it is fairly certain that the 
English returned from the Crusades knowing far more of 
maritime matters than when they had set out At any rate 
t IS significant that the illustrations of ships of the date of 

St?^ v^u' ^^^ y^?^ ""^"^ ^^""^"^^ set forth to the East, 
show the Viking-like ship greatly modified. The beginnings 
of the stem-castle and fore-castle and of fighting toTafe 
for f h« °- ^' uf ^' h""" ^'S^y P^^bable^ that^the^idea 
heii «r.\r'.''''*T"?J'°°' l^^ ^"^y«' «t"^ influenced in 



The English nation, more than perhaps any other, has 
been characterised not so much by her inventiveness as by 
her skill m adapting other nations' ideas. The present age 
ol electricity and other inventions illustrates the general 
truth of this statement. Thus, her ships of to-day are the 
result of continually improving on the designs of other 
nations. From Norway she got her first sailing ships ; 
from the Mediterranean she assuredly derived considerable 
knowledge in maritime matters generally. Certainly from 
Spam she learned much of the art of navigation, of rigging 
and of shipbuilding. From the French, as we go down 
through time, she acquired a vast increase of her know- 
ledge of ship-designing and shipbuilding. Not the least 
ot this was the importance to a vessel of fine lines. The 
Dutch taught us a good deal of seamanship and tactics, as 
we know from Pepys's Diary. Finally, about the year 
1850, after the American clippers had raced all our big 
ships of the mercantile marine ofF the ocean, Encrland 
learned to build clippers equally fast and superior in 
strength, and so regained the sea-carrying trade she had 
lost. In yacht designing also she has learned much from 
Amencan architects, as the Germans within the last few 
years have learned from us. 

Sailing ships are the links which bind country to 
country, continent to continent. They have been at once 
the means of spreading civilisation and war. It is a fact 
that the number of new ships to be built increases pro- 
portionately as the trade of a country prospers, and one of 
the first signs of bad trade is the decrease in the ship- 
builder's orders. But, good trade or bad trade, peace or 
war, there will always be a summons in the sea which 
cannot be resisted. It summoned the Egyptians to sail 
to the land of Punt to fetch incense and gold. It sum- 
moned the Phoenicians across the Bay of Biscay to the tin 
mines of Cornwall. It called the Vikings to coast along 
the Baltic shores for pillage and piracy. It called the 


goods, fresh sou^s o" tL" importr St?^ '°^ ^^^ 
trade, some for piracy somTfn^^» a ^^^^ ^""^ ^''' 

soucrht everv Do<:^iW*. n,^-! V ^^^P^^^nce and invention 
to tfme ils K In sX n^^ 7^.°^"" 1^ *^"°'« «"d 
never succeedS 'in i?H lu^^ ^^''^ }^^^ ^^^'"^ men have 
the sea S et;"bf fS?« VPP^^ ^and, yet the call of 

nated you whe? on^.. t7 k ^''^" °"*=« ^^^ ^as fasci- 
.fot f^/o u • X "^^ y°" ^^ave consented to her crvnnH 

Tt^sT^rX''Zr:T' youbecomeas muchSrve 
of an ancient SlevTl,'^^'"''"^.*''** ?""«** *' the oar 
your sXSdSlS- ''' "' ''''' >'«" ' y«" l^oi^t up 





HE earliest information that we can find 
about the sailing ship comes, of course, 
from Egypt : for although the first signs 
of the dawn of culture were seen in 
Babylonia, yet that is an inland country 
and not a maritime region. Notwith- 
standing the fact that to the east of the Syro-Arabian 
desert there flow the navigable rivers of the Tigris and 
Euphrates, and granting that it is only reasonable to 
suppose that the eariiest inhabitants on the banks of these 
important streams did actually engage in the building 
of some sort of boat or ship, yet we are not in a position 
to make any statement from definite evidence. The age 
of the Babylonian civilisation is exceedingly remote, and 
long prior to that of the Egyptians, but that is the 
most that we can say. What their rowing or sailing 
craft were like — who knows ? The discoveries made in 
this, the most historic comer of the world, by Layard 
and his successors have told us something about the 
craft that breasted the waters of the Tigris, but this 
information belongs to no period earlier than 700 or 
900 B.C. Whether subsequent discoveries may lift up 
the curtain that hides from our view the remains, or at 
least the crude designs, of the first objects that were 
ever propelled by wood or sail is entirely a matter of 


Of one thing we may rest assured— that Babylonia 
was in a comparatively high state of civilisation about six 
thousand years before the Christian era. For at about 
this date from the East came Babylonian settlers, who 
found their way towards the setting sun and, finally halt- 
ing to the North- West of the Red Sea, colonised the 
region on either side of the Nile. Here, then, they arrived 
from Babylonia, not a barbarian wild tribe, but, as we 
know from the most learned Egyptologists, a highly 
civilised people, possessing great ability in certain arts and 
of definite intellectual development. It would be only 
natural that a band of emigrants that had been living by 
the banks of the Tigris or Euphrates should eventually 
settle bv a river. An Englishman who has lived all his 
Ufe on the lower reaches of the Thames, is far more likely 
to fix his habitation on the shores of a colonial river than 
to trek inland and ultimately " bring up " in the middle of 
a grazing country. The new inhabitants of the land that 
we know by the name of Egypt would feel themselves at 
home by its river. Whatever knowledge they had pos- 
sessed of boat building in Babylonia they carried with 
them across the Arabian desert and put into practice 
along the banks of the Nile. The accompanying illustra- 
tion (Fig. 3) will show to what ability these colonisers or 
their immediate successors had attained. Here will be 
noticed the earliest form of sailing ship in existence. The 
mast, the square sail, the high bow and the curve of the 
hull are to us of the highest possible interest as showing 
the first beginnings of the modern full-rigged ship or 
yacht. This illustration has been taken from an amphora 
found in Upper Egypt and now in the British Museum. 
The date ascribed to it by the ablest Egyptologists is that 
of the Pre-Dynastic period, which for the sake of clearness 
we may regard as about 6000 b.c. 

On other vases of this period, some of which may also 
be seen in the British Museum, are to be found curious 




crescent-shaped designs that have been sometimes taken 
for primitive ships by previous writers. Even to the most 
imaginative it must have been difficult to have given 
these curious drawings the right to be called boats. The 
extraordinary erections on what would be the deck, have 


Fio. S. Egyptian Ship of about 6000 b.c. 

not any right to be called masts or sails. To any one with 
the sUghtest practical knowledge of boats and their ways, 
it is amusing to find that even these primitive ideas should 
have been thought to depict any kind of river craft. But 
I have been enabled to discuss this matter with such 
eminent Egyptologists as Dr. Wallis Budge, the Keeper 
of the Egyptian anti Assyrian Antiquities in the British 
Museum, and Mr. H. R. Hall, both of whom are of the 
opinion that these designs do not represent ships at all. 
Dr. Budge suggests that they represent "zarebas," a 
word that became very familiar to English people during 
Kitchener's campaign in Egypt. In tliat case, the struc- 


tures that have been mistaken for masts would repre- 
sent erections to frighten away enemies or wild beasts. 
Another theory is that the series of straight lines below 
what was taken for the ship's hull, and which were wrongly 
supposed to represent waves, are perhaps the piles on 
which the dwelling is built. I have, therefore, omitted 
such designs as not bearing on the subject of sailing ships. 

Starting with a definite illustration before us of a 
sailing boat of about 8000 years ago, our mind naturally 
wanders back to the period when the first boat was ever 
made. Picture, if you will, the prehistoric man standing 
by the banks of the Tigris or Euphrates gazing in utter 
helplessness and awe at the liquid mass gurgling on its 
way to the Persian Gulf. He sees the fishes able to 
swim beneath its surface and the waterfowl to float above. 
Then when his mind has reached a sufficiently developed 
state to permit of his being able to reason, he begins to 
wonder if he — the superior to fish and fowl — could also be 
supported in the water until he has reached the other side 
of the river on which he has as yet never set foot. So, 
on a day, greatly daring, he entrusts his body to the 
flowing stream, and at length discovers that by certain 
exercises he is able to float and swim across to the other 
side. A new accomplishment has been made, a new 
world has been opened out to him. When he gets back 
home he begins to reason still further. How can he carry 
himself, his family, his goods to the other side ? One 
day, perhaps, while hewing down a tree for his hut, a 
branch falls into the water. Behold! it possesses the 
ability of the water-fowl — it floats. So he hews down the 
trunk itself, sits across it, and for sport, launches off from 
the bank. Lo I the trunk supports both its own weight 
and his. 

Thus encouraged, his primitive mind sets slowly to 
work. " If I get a bigger trunk and hollow it out, it will 
carry me, my family and my property across to the other 






shore." So having turned the trunk into a boat, he makes 
of the branch a punting-pole. At a later stage he puts on 
a cross-piece to one end of the pole and thus propels 
himself by paddling, until this in turn becomes an oar. 

Since human nature differs but little from age to age, 
and its chief tendency is ever to proceed along the route 
of least resistance, he begins to seek some means of 
motion without work. His descendants improve upon 
the tree-trunk until it has become more shapely and less 
clumsy. Then while returning home one evening, tired 
out with paddling and hunting, he rests on his paddle for 
a moment I Yet still his boat moves. He holds up the 
blade of his paddle and the canoe moves a little faster. 
He stands up, and, the larger the space that is exposed to 
the wind blowing in the direction in which he is travelling, 
the more quickly still does the little ship run on. Next 
day he brings with him a stick which he erects in the boat. 
That will save him standing. To the stick he makes fast 
a hide and spreading it to the wind sails faster than any- 
thing he has ever seen float on the water. 

This is all very well in following winds : he can get 
along, too, when the wind is abeam, although he has to 
keep helping her with his paddle— such a lot of lee-way 
does she make ; but every time the breeze gets ahead as 
he winds round the reaches of the Tigris he has to lower 
the sail and mast This is too much for him. His mind 
is not able to conceive of such a manceuvre of tacking : 
how could a boat possibly go against the wind? It is 
unthinkable. He would be a fool to try and reason 
otherwise against a law of nature. Not, indeed, until 
thousands of years after him is tacking invented. The 
Egyptians at any rate did not understand it. Their ships 
were built for sailing up and rowing down the Nile, and 
there is abundant evidence to show the mast lowered 
down on to the top of the after cabin and the oarsmen 
propelling the boat with the stream. 


The prehistoric man has thus made almost the same 
kind of boat that the savage or half-civilised race makes 
to day. The American Indian, the Negro and the 
undeveloped Asiatic races cannot create any boat superior 
to the dug-out, because their lack of intelligence is a fatal 
barrier. But just as the first inventors of flying machines 
have begun by studying the action of birds on the wing, 
so in navigation as in aviation. The early boatbuilders 
who followed the rough dug-out gave a shape to their 
ships that was derived from the creatures of the water. 
If the reader will look at the " bows " and underbody of a 
fish he will see how the general lines of the ship began. 
If, too, he will look at the stern and ** counter" of the 
duck and swan he will easily notice the resemblance to 
the overhang of the early Egyptian boats. This is not so 
fanciful as may appear at first sight. The ancients 
certainly were affected by the waterfowl in their designing 
of ships, and the graceful neck of the swan was a regular 
decoration for the stern of the later Roman ships. It is 
but common-sense that when man is about to study the 
method of navigating water or air, he should begin by 
copying from the creatures that spend their whole time 
in this activity. 

For the development of the art of shipbuilding, few 
countries could be found as suitable as Egypt. Surrounded 
on the East by the Red Sea, and by the Mediterranean on 
the North, it had the additional blessing of a long navi- 
gable river running through its midst. Of inestimable 
value to any country as this is, the equable and dry 
climate of Egypt, the peaceftilness of the waters of the 
Nile, the absence of storms and the rarity of calms 
combined with the fact that, at any rate, during the winter 
and early spring months, the gentle north wind blew up 
the river with the regularity of a trade wind, so enabling 
the ships to sail against the stream without the aid of 
oars — these were just the conditions that many another 


' t 






nation might have longed for. Very different, indeed, 
were the circumstances which had to be wrestled with in 
the case of the first shipbuilders and sailormen of Northern 
Europe. It is but natural, therefore, that the Egyptians 
became great sailors and builders : we should have been 
surprised had the reverse been the case. 

In earlier times our sources of Egyptian history were 
limited almost entirely to what could be derived from 
ancient Greek and Roman writers. Nor was this of any- 
thing but a vague and unreliable character. Happily within 
our own time this has been supplemented, to an enormous 
degree, by Egyptian exploration. Tiie first beginnings 
of this are found in the sciei tific study of Egyptian 
monuments, which began about the middle of the nine- 
teenth century. The foundation for the interpretation of 
hieroglyphic inscriptions was laid in the Rosetta Stone, 
now fortunately in the British Museum. Discovered at 
the close of the eighteenth century, its bilingual writing in 
Egyptian and Greek paved the way for future scholars. 
Englishmen, German, French and American students 
have since engaged in the fascinating pursuit of 
systematically and with scrupulous care, excavating the 
temples and palaces of the older civiUsation that lived 
on the banks of the Nile thousands of years before the 
Incarnation. Encouraged alike by the settled state of 
political affairs in Egypt, and by the support granted in 
the interests of research by the Egyptian and European 
Governments, the excavation and preservation of these 
unique monuments have gone steadily on from year to 
year. It is from the annual reports of these exploration 
societies, as well as from the explorers themselves, that we 
are able to present the details of the Egyptian sailing 

It would have been strange if a nation with such a 
vast waterway, and living in such close proximity to the 
Mediterranean and Red Seas, should not have left behind 


some memorials of her shipping. Happily we have no 
need for disappointment, for the information surviving to 
us is of two kinds. Firstly, we have the wall-pictures of 
the ancient buildings, which show almost everything that 
a picture could tell of a ship and her rigging. These 
wonderful illustrations have been faithfully copied on the 
spot. But besides these, within recent years have been 
unearthed most interesting little wooden model boats. 
These are of two kinds, those made in the form of a 
funeral bark, and those which are models of the actual 
ships that sailed up the Nile at the time they were made. 
In the former the dead nmn is seen lying under a canopy 
or open deck-house with or without rowers. These funeral 
barks, not being saiHng boats, are only of interest in pur- 
suing our present subject as showing us the general lines 
and shape of the hull, together with the steering and row- 
ing arrangements. 

It is the models of sailing ships that demand our 
attention. These were placed in the tombs with the 
intention of providing the deceased with the means of 
sailing about on the streams of the underworld. Very 
touching is the care of the ancients that man's most 
beautiful creation — his ship — should not be separated 
from him even in death. (We shall see, later on, a similar 
devotion expressed in the burial of the Vikings. ) Models 
of houses and of granaries, with curious little men work- 
ing away, so that the departed should not be lacking for 
food while he sailed about the underworld, are also found. 
Some of these models of ships, granaries and soul-houses 
are to be seen in the British Museum and the South 
Kensington Collection. The reader who is interested in 
the subject will find additional information in the fascinat- 
ing book by Professor Flinders Petrie.* Each boat was 
provided with masts and sails and elaborately decorated 

♦ '«Gizeh and Rifeh," by W. M. Flinders Petrie, London, 1907. 
(Double volume.) 







'1 ( 


steering oars. Dr. Budge, in his guide to the Third and 
Fourth Egyptian Rooms of the British Museum, points 
out that another rehgious idea was connected with these 
boats, namely, the conception of the boat of the Sun-god, 
called the " Boat of the Million of Years," in which 
the souls of the beatified were believed to travel nightly 
in the train of the Sun-god as he passed through the 
underworld from West to East. 

The Egyptians thought that by a use of words of 
magical power, the models placed in the tombs, whether 
of boats or houses or granaries, could be transformed into 

fhostly representations of their originals on earth. " The 
oat," adds Dr. Budge, "was considered to be such a 
necessary adjunct to the comfort of the deceased in the 
next world, that special chapters of the Book of the Dead 
were compiled for the purpose of supplying him with the 
words of power necessary to enable nim to obtain it. 
Thus, *Tell us our name,' say the oar-rests: and the 
deceased answers, * Pillars of the Underworld is your 
name.' 'Tell me my name,' saith the Hold: *Aker'is 
thy name. • Tell me my name,' saith the Sail : * Nut,' 
(i.e., heaven) is thy name, ' &c.* 

But let us make a survey of the development of the 
Egyptian ship from the time prior to the Dynasties until 
the third or fourth century before the Christian era. 
Ancient Egyptian history has been divided by scholars 
into three periods — the Old Kingdom, the Intermediate, 
and the New Kingdom. These again have been sub- 
divided into Dynasties, of which the First to the Tenth 
are covered by the Old Kingdom, the Eleventh to the 
Seventeenth, by the Intermediate, and the Eighteenth to 
the Twentieth, by the New Kingdom. Afterwards the 
various Foreign Dynasties of Mercenaries formed the 
Twenty-second to the Twenty-fifth. The Twenty-sixth 

♦ "A Guide to the Third and Fourth Egyptian Rooms, British 
Museum," London, 1904. 



was the time of the Restoration, the Twenty-seventh to 
the Thirty-first represented the time of the Persians. 
This will assist us in following the changes that came 
about in the ships with the progress of time. 

We have already drawn attention to the illustration of 
a ship, or rather saiUng boat, in Fig. 3, belonging to that 
remote period anterior to the Dynasties. There can be 
no possible doubt as to her being intended by the artist, 
who painted this design on the amphora, for a sailing 
vessel of some kind, though the mast and square-sail are 
set much further forward than is found later in Egyptian 
ships. There is a figure-head on the extreme point of the 
stempost Below is a small platform, possibly for the 
look-out man whom we see later in Egyptian ships armed 
with a pole for taking soundings. Right aft is a small 
cabin for the owner or distinguished traveller. Probably 
she was a decked ship and steered hy one or more oars 
from the quarter. The reader will notice a great similarity 
between the stern of this vessel and that of the Boeotian 
sailing boat shown in Fig. 11. 

From the earliest times up to about the year 3000 b.c., 
the Egyptian craft are less ships than boats. The sailing 
boats of the third dynasty are decked and fitted with a 
lowering mast, which when not in use is lifted bodily out 
of its sockets and rests on the roof of the after cabin. 
The boat was then propelled by paddles, with a look-out 
man forward, the steersmen aft, and the commander 
amidships armed with a thong-stick to urge the rowers on. 
The sailing boats of the fourth and fifth dynasties become 
gradually bigger and more seaworthy, but the mast and 
rigging show only slight advance. The former, from the 
third dynasty to the eleventh, is in the shape of the letter 
A. It fits into grooves either in the deck or the side of the 
ship, and at first has no backstays or shrouds. Being a 
double mast these are not necessary. The sail at this 
period is deep and narrow, reaching from the top of the 





mast down to the deck, being fitted with both yard and 
boom. Braces are attached to the ends of the yards but 
no sheets are shown. During the fourth and fifth dynasties, 
while the A-shaped mast remains, backstays are added, some- 
times numbering as many as nine or ten (see Fig. 4). These 

Fig. 4. Egyptian Ship or the Fifth Dynasty. 

would become essential as the ship grew larger and her 
gear heavier. These backstays lead from roughly three- 
quarters of the way up the mast down to the spot about a 
quarter of the ship's length forward of the stern. An 
additional stay from the top of the mast to the extremity 
of the stern is also frequently shown. Two or three men 
are seen steering with paddles, standing on the overhang- 
ing counter. On big ships the steersmen number as many 
as five, and the paddlers with their faces turned in the 
direction in which the ship wa« proceeding are shown to 
be twenty-two or twenty-three on each side. The fact 
that only one man is shown sitting aft holdintj a brace in 



erxh hand, must be an additional proof of the gentleness 
of the northerly wind on the Nile and the absence of 
squalls. No cleats are shown, and in anything much 
above a zephyr his weight and strength must have been 
sorely tried. The forestay, the enormous overhang both 
at bow and stern, the look-out man forward with his pole 
for takmg soundings of the Nile, and possibly for tilting 
the ship's head off whenever she got aground— an experi- 
ence that is far from rare on the Nile even to-day— the 
presence of the commander with his thong-stick, are still 
shown in the ships of the fourth and fifth dynasties. 

As showing the wonderful influence which Egyptian 
ships of this period exercised on the rig of the Far East, 
and even of the Far North East, let me be permitted to 
call attention to the Burmese Junk in Fig. 1. I will ask 
the reader to note very carefully her A-shaped mast, her 
squaresail, her steering paddle at the side, and most 
important of all the general sweep of the lines of her hull, 
coming right up from the overhanging bow to the raised 
overhanging poop. This is the Burmese junk of to-day, 
which, like the Egyptian ships of old, finds the prevailing 
wind favourable for sailing up against the river Irawadi, 
and when returning down the stream, lowers her sail and 
rows down with the current. Between the Chinese and 
Burmese junks of to-day and the Egyptian ships of about 
six thousand years ago there are so many points of 
similarity that we are not surprised when we remember 
that the Chinese, like the Egj^ptians, derived their earliest 
culture from Babylonia, and that India — ^using the name 
in its widest geographical sense to include Burma— is 
mainly, as to its culture at least, an offshoot from the 
Chinese. Until quite recently, China remained in the 
same state of development for four thousand years. If 
that was so with her arts and life generally, it has been 
especially so in the case of her sailing craft. I am not 
contending that the Chinese junk is identical with the 


III \' 


ancient Egyptian ship, but I submit that between the two 
there is such close similarity as to show a common 
influence and a remarkable persistence in type. 

But whilst engaged in this present work, I became 
interested in a half-civilised tribe called the Koryak, 
dwelling around the sea of Okhotsk, in the North West 
Pacific. Here, in this remote corner of undeveloped 
Siberia, they have remained practically forgotten by the 
rest of the world, except for a few occasional visits from 
the land side by the Cossacks, and from the shore side by 
the American whalers. Recently, thanks to the Russians, 
a few have begun to embrace Christianity, but for thie 
most part, they remain in their primitive state with habits 
too repulsive to mention. Naturally, since (as we have 
already pointed out) a nation exhibits its state of progress 
in its art, its literature and its ships, we are not surprised 
to find that the Koryak craft have, at any rate in respect 
of rigging, several highly important similarities to the 
Egyptian ship of the fourth and fifth dynasties. Thus, 
besides copying the ancients in steering with an oar, the 
fore-end of the prow of their sailing boats terminates in a 
fork through which the harpoon-line is passed, this fork 
being sometimes carved with a human face which they 
beheve will serve as a protector of the boat. Instead of 
rowlocks they have, like the early Egyptians, thong-loops, 
through which the oar or paddle is inserted. Their sail, 
too, is a rectangular shape of dressed, reindeer skins sewed 
together. But it is their mast that is especially like the 
Egyptians and Burmese. The following description, 
written by a member of the Jesup Expedition which 
recently visited the Koryaks, is notable : 

" Instead of a mast, they employ a more primitive 
contrivance. Three long poles are tied together at one 
end with a thong which passes through drill-holes, and are 
set up in the manner of a tripod. On one side, the whole 
length of the sail is sewed to a yard, the middle of which is 


dung from the top of the tripod by means of a stout thong. 
The tripod is set up in the middle of the boat by tying 
both ends of one of the poles to the ribs on one side of the 
boat, while the third pole is fastened on the other side of 
the boat. The sail can revolve around the top of the 
tripod, and is set in the direction required by the wind, 
by means of braces and sheets made of thong, which are 
fastened to the rails." * 

Lacking the civilisation of the ancient Egyptians, 
wanting, too, no doubt the wood wherewith to build their 
boats, the Koryaks' sailing craft are made of seal skins. 
But there can be little doubt that their rigging is of 
European rather than of Asiatic origin. Possibly it came 
from Egypt to India and China and so further north to 
the Sea of Okhotsk. At any rate, although the Egyptian 
ships we have been considering had a double and not a 
treble mast, yet it must not be supposed that the latter 
did not exist, for Mr. Villiers Stuart, some years ago, found 
on the walls of a tomb belonging to the Sixth Dynasty at 
Gebel Abu Faida, the painting of a boat with a treble 
mast made of three spars arranged like the edges of a 
triangular pyramid. 

After about the period of the fifth Dynasty the sail, 
instead of being deep and narrow, becomes wide and 
shallow. Instead of the several steersmen with their 
paddles at the stem, we have one large oar in the centre 
I' of the stern, resting on a large wooden fork and worked 
by one steersman by means of a lanyard. If the reader 
will refer to Figs. 5 and 6, he will see this quite clearly. 
These are the interesting little models already alluded to 
as having been discovered by Professor Flinders Petrie, 
and which are now in the Manchester Museum. This 
most instructive " find " was made by the British School 
of Archaeology in the season of 1906-7 at Rifeh, whilst 

• "The Jesup North Pacific Expedition/' vol. vi. part ii., "The 
Koryak " ; see pp. 5S4-5S8. By W. JocheUon, New York, 1908. 

C 99 

tiii : 



excavating the tomb of the sons of an Egyptian Prince 
belonging to the Twelfth Dynasty. In the coffins were 
these two excellent little ships, the one, as will be seen, 
with her mast and yards, braces, topping lifts and halyards 
for sailing up the Nile ; while the other ship shews very 
clearly the mast lowered in a tabernacle on to the cabin, 
the foot of the mast being balanced by the weight of a 
stone — exactly the practice of the Norfolk w^herries of to- 
day, saving that instead of stone lead is used. The steers- 
men will be noticed and the highly decorated blade of the 
steering oar. Unfortunately, before being photographed, 
the oar in Fig. 5 has been placed too high. It should, of 
course, have been dropped lower beneath the water line. 
Notice, too, that the rowers sit now with their backs to 
the bow. Paddles have been dispensed with, and finding 
that so much more power could be obtained by putting 
the whole weight on to the oar, rowing has been taken to 
instead of paddling. The Uttle figure with a cloak round 
his shoulders in the bows (Fig. 6), is the look-out man. 

— In Fig. 5, the look-out man with his pole is also seen 
forward ; the crew are gathered round the mast to haul at 
the halyards, and get in the sheets and braces ; for now 
that the sail does not reach right down to the deck, sheets 
have become indispensable. It will also be remarked that 
the boom has been introduced to make the sail set better. 
The amount of sheer given to the boat is enormous, 
although the curve-in of the top of the stern is exceedingly 
attractive. Assuming that the dimensions of the model 
are proportionate she must have had precious little grip of 

• the water, and if, when on an expedition to the land of 
Punt, the Egyptians ever encountered a beam wind, their 
ships must have made a terrible lot of leeway. For even 
a Ught breeze, coming at right-angles to those overhanging 
bows with no great draught amidships, would drive her 
head right off the wind. The steersman would naturally 
stand to leeward, to get a pull on his steering-thong or 


lanyard in order to luflF her up, and prevent her sagging 
too much to leeward. At a later date, when, as we shaU 
see, an oar was used each side for steering in place of only 
one at the extreme stern, the helmsman stood on the lee 
side and worked the lee steering oar. By reason of its size, 
this would have some of the effects of the lee-boards on a 
Thames Barge or Dutchman. 

Although these two models are the finest tomb group 
that have yet reached England, yet others have been 
found at Sakkara, and elsewhere, sometimes with a hull 
painted yellow and a cabin with an awning painted to 
imitate leather, in which the jjroprietor, more carefiilly 
made and of better wood than his sailors, sat with his box 
by his side. Another boat model was of light papyrus 
with flower-shaped prow and stern. It was painted green, 
and carried a light shelter under which the owner usually 


These ships of the Twelfth Dynasty have an additional 
interest for us, since they belong to the time when Egypt 
was enjoying the fullest prosperity, and had reached its 
highest degree of civilisation in its capital of Thebes. But 
it is in the illustrations of ships afforded by excavations in 
connection with the Temple of Deir-el-Bahari that we 
find the most detailed information. The south wall of the 
middle terrace of this building is most informative, depict- 
ing as it does the naval expedition to the land of Punt. 
In Egyptian history various expeditions are mentioned to 
Punt. One occurred as early as the fifth Dynasty, for 
it is recorded in a tomb of a dynasty later. During the 
eleventh Dynasty, a similar expedition was made under 
Sankh-kara, and Ramases III. also sent an expedition. 
These last two voyages are said to have started from a 
harbour on the Red Sea which was reached from Koptos, 
probably the modern Kosseir, and to have returned there. 

* See " The Egypt Exploration Fund : Archaeological Report, 1 906- 






Although it is now thought by some Egyptologists that 
Queen Hatshopsitu did not send an expedition to Punt, 
but that she was only copying the expedition of the 
eleventh Djmasty, and that these Punt reliefs are merely 
repUcas of other reUefs still to be discovered in the older 
temple, depicting an expedition under Nebkheruna, yet it 
is a doubtml point and by no means settled by critics. 

But supposing these are the ships of the Egyptian 
Queen of the eighteenth Dynasty, they are seen with 
fifteen oarsmen a side, whilst two look-out men are standing 
forward in a kind of open-work forecastle. The general 
shape of the ship by now has become considerably 
mooified. Whilst there is still considerable overhang 
both at bow and stern, yet she is long on the waterline. 
The bow resembles nothing so much as that of a modem 
gondola. There is a beautiful line sweeping up aft to a 
raised poop with an ornamentation curving gracefully in- 
board to another open-work castle or cabin. These illustra- 
tions of the eighteenth Dynasty show how thoroughly 
the Egyptians had mastered the art of ship-building. 
When a ship is sailing on the sea, she is thrown up by the 
motion of the waters till she rests pivoted on the crest of 
a wave. The middle of the ship is thus supported, but the 
bow and stem, not being jwaterborne, have a tendency to 
droop while the centre of the ship tends to bulge up. 
This is technically known among naval architects as 
" hogging." In the case of ships with an enormous over- 
hang, imsupported by water, such as was the case of the 
Egyptian ships and is now the fashion with our modern 
yachts, this hogging would need to be guarded against. 
Only recently the writer saw on the south coast a modern 
yacht with no beam but considerable length and overhang. 
She had been badly built and the " hogging " was very 
noticeable a little forward of amidships. Her skipper 
gave her a very bad name altogether. 

In the Hatshopsitu ships we see the '' hogging ** strain 

— .,.. ^..-^ 

Fig. 5. Model of an Egvptian Ship of the Twelfth Dynasty. 

Fig. 6. Model of an Egyptian Ship of the Twelfth Dynasty. 

p. 36. 


Wi '*, 


guarded against by a powerful truss of thick rope. This 
truss leads from forward, sometimes being bound round — 
undergirding — the prow : sometimes it is made fast inside, 
perhaps to the deck or to the floors. It then leads 
aft, being stretched on forked posts until it reaches the 
mast, where it is wound round in a sort of clove-hitch, and 
then continues aft again been stretched on other forked 
posts until it is finaUy girded round the counter. This 
truss was as large as a man's waist, and has been calculated 
by Commander T. M. Barber of the United States' Navy 
to have been able to withstand a strain of over 300 tons.* 

The manner of steering from the centre of the stern 
with one oar has given way to that of using an oar on 
each quarter. Each oar rests on a forked post rising 
above the head of the steersman who works the oar with 
a thong loop. As already pointed out, it is noticeable 
that he uses the lee steering oar always. It is probable 
that going to the land of Punt, the prevaiUng North wind 
favoured them. But returning, if the wind was foul, 
they would have to row. Even had they understood the 
art of tacking at this time they would have had some 
difficulty. As far as one can gather from the look of 
a ship of this kind, as soon as ever the lee oar was pushed 
over so that she came up into the wind, she would get into 
stays and not pay off on to the other tack except with the 
aid of the oarsmen. 

In these Punt pictures, too, will be noticed the fact 
that the rowers have their oars in thongs instead oi the 
later invention — pins or rowlocks. These ships were cer- 
tainly decked, but that was probably only down the centre, 
for though we see the ship crowded with all sorts of 
merchandise, yet the rowers' bodies are only visible from 
the knees upwards. They were probably placed on a 
lower platform. 

• " The Tomb of Hatihopsitu," p. SO, by Edouard Naville, London, 



Y' '^'l 

li \ ' It 


Just as in the course of time the double and treble 
mast gave way to the single spar, and the deep, narrow 
sail to the broad, shallow square-sail, so later, about the 
year 1250 b.c., we find that the boom was discarded, and 
therefore at any rate, by now, sheets must have been 
introduced. But before we pass from Hatshopsitu's ships 
(about 1600 B.C.) let us examine the sail of that time. 
So much confusion exists in the mind of many who see 
occasional pictures of these early vessels that it may be 
well to make an effort to clear this matter up. The 
yard was of two pieces lashed together in the middle ; the 
same statement applies to the boom. Pulleys not being 
yet invented, the two halyards that raised the yard, led 
through two empty squares formed by a frame-work of 
wood acting as fair-leads. These halyards led aft, and 
being belayed well abaft the mast were used as powerful 
stays to the latter. Let it be understood at once that the 
boom remained fixed, being lashed to the mast by thongs. 
From the top of the mast below the yard depended a 
series of topping lifts about seventeen in number. These 
coming out from the mast at varying angles spread over 
the whole length of the boom, and took the weight of the 
latter, supporting also the sail and yard when lowered. 
Contrary to the subsequent practice of the Greeks and 
Romans, the yard was the spar that was raised or lowered 
by the halyards. Thus, when sail was struck the two 
halyards would be slacked off, the yard would descend on 
to the boom, the sail would be rolled up while the 
topping-lifts would hold the entire weight. The two 
braces, leading down not quite from the extremities of the 
yard, a single sheet made fast a little forward of the 
middle of the boom, a forestay and also a single backstay 
were also used, but side rigging never. 

From about the year 1250 b.c. onwards, the sail was no 
longer furled by slacking away the halyards, but, having 
dispensed with the boom, brails of about four in number 


usually hung from the yard which was now not lowered 
but a fixture. Consequently on coming to an anchorage 
the brails would be used for furling the sail to the yard- 
still standing owing to the weight and consequent exertion 
needed to hoist it again. This, then, remained the 
accepted rig of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans for 
over a thousand years as we shall see from the evidence of 
coins and vases. 

The importance of the various expeditions of the 
Egyptians to Punt cannot be over-estimated. They are 
the earliest attempt at organising a fleet of powerful ships 
to voyage far away from home waters. Exactly where 
Punt was situated it is not possible to say, because the 
name was given to various regions at different times. 
Sometimes it is the modem Somaliland, or the shore 
opposite: at other times it is somewhere in a more 
southerly direction. But wherever Punt may have been, 
it was either to the East or South of Egypt. The real 
motive of these expeditions was to increase the commerce 
of Egypt, to open up trade with the neighbouring 
countries, and especially to obtain incense for the burials 
of the Egyptians. Such commodities as ivory, leopard 
skins, ostrich feathers and gold were also brought back. 

I am indebted for much information with reference to 
these expeditions to a most interesting pubUcation of the 
Egypt Exploration Fund,* and to the work of a German 
scholar, t In the illustrations of the Punt expedition 
as depicted in Hatshopsitu's Temple, we see five ships 
arriving. Two have struck sail and are moored. The 
first ship has sent out a small boat which is fastened 
by ropes to a tree on the shore, while bags and amphora, 
probably containing food and drink, are being unloaded to 

• *• Egypt Exploration Fund: The Temple of Deir-el-Bahari," by 
Edouard Naville. 

t " The Fleet of an Egyptian Queen/' by Dr. Johannes Duemichen. 
Leipzig, 1868. 




present to the chief of Punt. The other three ships are 
coming up with sail set, showing us the most interesting 
details as to their rigging. On one of them the pilot 
is seen giving the command " To the port side." There 
is an inscription annexed to this illustration, which, as stated 
above, can now be deciphered. It reads thus : — ** These 
are the ships, which the wind brought along with it." 
And again, •* The voyage on the sea, the attainment of the 
longed-for aim in the holv land, the happy arrival of the 
Egyptian soldiers in the land of Punt, according to the 
arrangement of the divine Prince Amon, Lord of the terres- 
trial thrones in Thebes, in order to bring to him the treasures 
of the whole land in such quantities as will satisfy him." 

We see, too, the ships being loaded with the produce 
of Punt. The Egyptians are bringing the cargo across a 
gangway from the shore to the ship. There are bags of 
incense and gold, ebony, tusks of elephants, skins of 
panthers, frankincense trees piled up in confusion on the 
ships' decks. Monkeys, too, have been obtained, which 
have been truthfully depicted as amusing themselves by 
walking along the truss. Any one who has ever taken a 
monkey on board a sailing ship knows that the first thing 
he does is to run up the rigging. It is a small point this, 
but it shows that the artist was anxious to be truthful and 
exact in his details. 

The hierofflyphic inscription accompanying this illustra- 
tion is vuluafly the bill of lading. It gives a detailed and 
accurate account of all the articles destined for transport 
The translation of this according to Dr. Duemichen is : 
" The loading of the ships of transport with a great 
quantity of the magnificent products of Arabia, with all 
kinds of precious woods of the holy land, with heaps of 
incense-resin, with verdant incense trees, with ebony, with 
pure ivory, with gold and silver from the land of Amu, 
with the (odorous) Tepes wood and the Kassiarind, with 
Aham-incense and IVfestemrouge, with Anau-monkeys, 



Kop-monkeys, and Tesem-animals, with skins of leopards 
of the South, with women and children. Never has a 
transport (been made) like this one by any king since the 
creation of the world." 

Finally (see Fig. 7) we are shown three vessels of the fleet 
returning to Thebes richly laden. The accompanying in- 
scription in this case reads : " The excursion was completed 
satisfactorily ; happy arrival at Thebes to the joy of the 
Egyptisn soldiers. The (Arabian and Ethiopian) princes, 
after they had arrived in this country, bring witn them costly 
things of the land of Arabia, such as had never yet been 
brought that could be compared with what they brought, 
by any of the Egyptian kmgs, for the supreme majesty 
of this god Amon-BLa, Lord of the terrestrial thrones." 

" If the expedition really landed at Thebes," says Dr. 
Edouard Naville, "we must suppose that at that time, 
long before Ramases II., who is said to have made a canal 
from the Nile to the Red Sea, there was an arm of the 
Nile forming a communication with the sea, which extended 
much farther north than it does now." ♦ 

When we remember the splendour and gaiety of the 
court at Thebes, the many gorgeous festivals that were 
held on the water, the Egyptians' love of pleasure and their 
intense joy in living, we are neither surprised to learn of 
the great fetes that celebrated the safe return of these 
voyagers, nor of the fact that a company of royal dancers 
accompanied the ships to enliven the navigation with song 
and dance. That the Eg5^tians dearly loved their ships 
and set them in high honour cannot be disputed. Besides 
burying them in the tombs of their rulers, there were times 
when sacred boats were carried out of the temples on the 
occasion of high festivals and dragged along by sledges. 

Professor Maspero t believes that the navigation of the 

• "Egypt Exploration Fund: The Temple of Deir-cl-B«hari," p. l6. 
t "The Dawn of Civilisation — "Egypt," by Professor Maspero, 
London^ 189^ 



Red Sea by the Egyptians was far more frequent than is 
usually imagined, and the same kinds of vessels in which 
they coasted along the Mediterranean from the mouth of 
the Nile to the southern coast of Syria, conveyed them 
also, by following the coast of Africa, as far as the straits of 
Bab-el-Mandeb. These ships were, of course, somewhat 
bigger and more able than the Nile boats, though they 
were built on the same model. They were clinker-built 
with narrow sharp stem and stem, with enormous sheer 
rising from forward to the high stern. They were not 
open boats but decked, and we find hieroglyphics denoting 
the pilot's orders "Pull the oar," "To the port side." 
Heavier, bigger, with more freeboard and no hold, the 
EgyP*^^^'^ merchant ships, crowded with their cargo and a 
complement of fifty sailors, pilots, and passengers, barely 
afforded room for working the ship properly. The length 
of ships of the size that went to Punt has been thought to 
be about sixty-five feet, or much smaller than such modem 
yachts as " Shamrock " and " Nyria." 

We have already mentioned the wonderful influence 
the rig of the Egyptians exercised to the eastward, but 
though the old squaresail rig has gone from Egypt, yet 
to-day we can still see very similar boats and almost the 
same rig on the Orange Laut of the Malay West Coast. 
The overhanging bow and stern, the great sheer from 
forward to the high poop, the large single squaresail, now 
converted practically into a lug-sail, are still there to keep 
alive the memory of the ships of the Dynasties. 

I have already referred in the previous chapter to the 
lateen sail having been adapted from the Egyptian rig a 
few centuries before the Christian era. But it is probable 
that between the squaresail rig and the lateen there was just 
one intermediate stage. By tilting the yard at a different 
angle to the mast, instead of it being at right angles, so 
that the foot came down lower, and the peak of the sail was 
pointed higher, it would be found that the ship would hold 


a better wind. This is amply borne out by the Egyptian 
" Nugger " (see Fig. 8), which is still in use on the Nile 
above the second cataract, and is being replaced only very 
slowly by the lateen. There is a relief on a sarcophagus 
found m the precincts of the Vatican, and now m the 


Fig. 8. An Egyptian Nugger, 

Lateran Museum, which certainly resembles the "Nugger 
in its transition from the squaresail to the lateen. ( The date 
of this is about 200 a.d.). The only important difference 
is that the Vatican relief shows a topsail added. Finally, 
discarding the boom altogether, the lateen sail comes with 
the foot of the sail lower still, and consequently the peak 
much higher, being but an exaggerated form of our 
modern lug-sail so prevalent in sailing dinghies. This 
remains, as we have pointed out above, as the character- 
istic sail of the Mediterranean, the Nile and Red Sea. 
Before we close this chapter one must refer to the 


it' ■ 


vexed Question as to when the ancients discovered that 
wonderful art of sailing against the wind — tacking. In 
the absence of any definite knowledge, I hold the opinion 
that this first came into practice on the Nile about the 
time the nugger, or dhow was introduced as the rig for 
sailing boats. My reasons for this supposition are : firstly, 
the squaresail being more suitable for the open sea and 
making passages of some length, it would be a country 
having a navigable river that would be Ukely to discover 
such a rig as would enable them to sail with the stream 
against the prevailing northerly wind ; secondly, arguing 
on the theory (which has many adherents) that the dhow 
came in about the time of the death of Alexander the 
Great who revolutionised at least one corner of Egjrpt, 
leaving behind his name to the port of Alexandria as an 
eternal memorial, I hold that the invention of this dhow 
rig made the j^ip to come very close to the wind — far 
closer than the old-fashioned squaresail of the earher 
Egyptians. Realising, when coming down with the stream, 
that they could go so near to the wind when approaching 
the right bank, why — surely it must have occurred to such 
highly developed minds — could they not do the same 
when zigzagging across to the left shore? At first, no 
doubt, they pulled her head round with their oars, until, 
perhaps, on one occasion, she carried so much way from 
the last shore that she came round of her own accord — 
shook herself for a moment, as she hung for a short time 
in stays— and then paid ofF on the other tack. After that, 
the whole art of going to windward was revealed. My 
third reason is based on the fact that the Saxons, who 
settled around the mouth of the Elbe and subjugated the 
Thuringians after the death of Alexander the Great, did 
possess this knowledge of tacking. 

Unless it were with the intention of tacking, it is 
difficult to see why the dhow, or nugger rig should have 
prevailed. But we do know that this form of sail was 





extant about the time of Alexander ; therefore, tacking 
must be at least as old as the death of Alexander in the 
fourth century B.C. A squaresail-ship whether ancient or 
modern will go no nearer the wind than seven points, 
whereas the fore-and-after will sail as close as five. This, 
as soon as the fact was fully realised on the Nile, would 
hasten that day when tacking was first found out. 

Egypt, after flourishing so mightily for so many 
hundreds of years, had its decline not less than its rise. 
Just as the earUer Egyptian sculptures are superior to the 
later ones in sincerity and fidelity, becoming subsequently 
more stifF and formal, so her shipping eventually de- 
teriorated, and the mastery of the seas passed into the 
hands of the Phoenicians, 




I T is almost impossible to exagge- 
rate the potent influence exer- 
cised by the Phcenicians, as 
successors of the Egyptians, in 
being the maritime nation of the 
world. Happy in their origin by 
the l^ersian Gulf, fortunate, too, 
in having had the Egyptians 
before them, and so benefiting 
by the knowledge and experience of the latter, they had 
developed and prospered through the centuries parallel 
with the Dynastic peoples. Much that we should wish to 
know about the Phcenicians is wanting, but we have more 
than adequate material for the means of realising some- 
thing of the range and intensity of their sway. 

Migrating, like the first Egyptians, westward, they had 
settled around the Levant, to the north of Palestine. 
Already, in prehistoric days, they had expanded still 
further westward into Greece, founding Thebes in Bceotia, 

• For some valuable matter regarding Greek and Roman ships I wish 
to acknowledge my indebtedness to the following, especially the first two 
of these : 

"Ancient Ships" by Cecil Torr, Cambridge, 1894. 

" Dictionnaire des Antiquit^s Grecques et Romanes," by Ch. Darem- 
breg (Article under "Navis," by Cecil Torr), Paris, 1905. 

" A Companion to Greek Studies," by L. Whibley, Cambridge, 1905. 
(Sec article on " Ships," by A. B. Cook, p. 475 et teq.) 


and teaching the barbarian inhabitants of that country the 
elements of civilisation. Everywhere in the ancient world, 
from remote ages until a century or two before the In- 
carnation, Phoenician ships were as numerous in the waters 
of the Mediterranean, as British vessels in all parts of the 
world are to-day. Possessing a genius for trade, a keen 
love for the sea and for travel, they had the complete 
mastery of the commerce and fisheries of the iEgean Sea, 
until as late as the eighth century B.C. They dragged up 
from the waters its shell fish to make purple dies ; they 
burrowed into the earth to extract silver ; they opened up 
commerce wherever it was possible, exchanging such pro- 
ducts of the East as woven fabrics and highly- wrought 
metal work. They built factories on islands and promon- 
tories, and gave to the towns along the coast-line — 
especially of the eastern side of Greece — Phoenician 
names. Troubling but little about inland situations, 
they made their strong settlements to be their island 


Although eventually the Phoenicians were driven out 
of the iEgean, yet their effect on the inhabitants of Greece 
was a lasting one. As Greece had received from the 
Phoenicians her first culture, so she had adopted their 
reUgion and their species of ships. We shall see, pre- 
sently, how very similar the ships of the Greeks and 
Phoenicians were. But before proceeding thus far, let us 
remember that, though the Phoenicians were developing 
while the Egyptians were decUning, yet, indubitably, they 
owed a vast amount to the civihsation of the latter. Why 
the Phoenicians, more than any other people, were in- 
fluenced by the Egyptians is not hard to understand if we 
realise that they alone were allowed to trade to the mouths 
of the Nile. The Egyptians guarded their kingdom invio- 
late against all other merchants of the Mediterranean, 
although Achaian pirates from the North at times swept 
down to the Nile Delta. Not until the Twenty-Sixth 





IS - 



Dynasty, when Egypt was reunited, and again made a 
strong kingdom, were the Milesian and other Greek 
traders allowed to begin commercial operations with the 
land of the Pharaohs. 

Broadly speaking, the Phoenician ships were identical 
with those of about the time of Ramases III. (1200 b.c.). 
The fixed yard, the absence of boom, the brails suspend- 
ing from the yard, the sweep of the lines aft to the 
overhanging stem, the double steering oar — these charac- 
teristics, which in the last chapter we left with the 
Egyptians, are all seen in the ships of the Phcenicians. 
The chief noticeable difference is that the latter have 
altered the bow so that she has a ram. It was the 
Phcenicians, too, who invented the bireme and trireme in 
order that speed might be obtained through increasing the 
height without adding to the length of the ship. The 
ships become somewhat larger than those of the Egyptians, 
for the reason that they have to voyage much mrther 
afield. Consequently the sail is sometimes found bigger, 
too, and instead of four brails, six is the usual number 
seen. The Phoenician bireme had as many as eleven or 
twelve rowers each side, sails being only used in a fair 
wind, but never at all in battle. In addition to its crew 
of seamen, a Phoenician trireme often carried thirty 
marines, sometimes of a nation different from the 

Right to the end, even when decline had at last taken 
the place of a rise, the Phoenicians remained good sailor- 
men. Whenever a superior foe overcame them, they were 
used by their new master with deadly effect against his 
next enemy. We have an instance of this in the fifth 
century b.c., when, Phoenicia and Cyprus having been 
defeated by Cambyses, the latter utflised the strong 
Phoenician fleet agamst Amasis, the Egyptian king. And 
again, in the foUowing century, when Xerxes had en- 
forced the most rigorous conscription, and every maritime 


people in his dominions had been compelled to put forth 
its lull strength, we find it recorded that the most trust- 
worthy portion of the fleet, far superior to the Egyptians, 
was composed of ships of the Phoenician cities, the kings 
of Tjn:e and Sidon appearing in person, each at the head 
of his own contingent. Other things being equal, that 
side was usually victorious which had the Phoenicians with 
them. For the Phoenicians had the instinct of sailormen ; 
they knew how to build and design their ships to with- 
stand a fight ; they had the shins, they had the men, and, 
what was more important stiU, they knew how to use 

But the Phoenicians were more than mere traders or 
fighters : they were the world's greatest explorers — ^until 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries of our era. It was 
they who voyaged out of the Mediterranean across the 
turbulent Bay of Biscay to Cornwall and perhaps Ireland. 
I am of the firm opinion that they also continued their 
travels further eastward across the North Sea : we will 
deal with that, however, in the next chapter. At any rate 
about the beginning of the sixth century B.C. they circum- 
navigated Africa, obeying the orders of Neco, an Egyptian 
king, "who" — to contmue in Hakluyt's Elizabethan 
English — "(for trial's sake) sent a fleet of Phoenicians 
downe the Red sea : who setting forth in the Autumne 
and sailing Southward till they had the Sunne at noone- 
tide upon their sterbourd (that is to sajr, having crossed 
the iEquinoctial and the Southerne tropique) after a long 
Navigation, directed their course to the North, and in the 
space of 8. yeeres environed all Africk, passing home 
through the Gaditan streites, and arriving in Egypt." * 

It was the Phoenicians, too, who with the Israelites in 
the time of Solomon sailed down the Red Sea to Eastern 

• " The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of 
the English Nation/' by Richard Hakluyt. Prefiice to the second 

D 49 

i -' 


Africa, Persia, and Beluchistan. Some, indeed, have 
thought that the Phoenicians sailed out of the Medi- 
terranean and keeping their course to the westward were 
the first to discover America, Whether this is true or 
not is a matter for dispute, but it is quite possible. I 
have seen a little seven-ton cutter yacht that came across 
on her own bottom, and she is not half the size of the old 
Phoenician ships. Nor had she a few dozen galley slaves 
on board to pull at the oars : still less the room wherein 
to stow them.* There is, then, nothing at all improbable 
in the Phoenicians having gone so far afield. They were 
not pressed for time, and could afford to wait till the 
weather suited them. Given a fair wind they could not 
have had better shaped canvas for the voyage than theirs. 
Every sailor will tell you that there is nothing to beat the 
squaresail for ocean passages, and those who have tried 
the fore-and-aft rig for deep-sea sailing have lived to wish 
they had had a rectangular sail set across the mast, so as 
to avoid the fdar of gybing as in a fore-and-after. Lord 
Brassey, when, in the famous race across the Atlantic in 
1905, he commanded his own yacht the Sunbeam, afterwards 
endorsed these opinions about the respective merits of the 
square-sail and of the fore-and-aft rig. 

Moreover, the Phoenicians had ample brails for reefing. 
True, the ship would roll considerably with so shallow a 
keel, but her length would be of some assistance, and no 
doubt the skipper would see to it that the crew steadied 
her with their oars. 

Either from the Egyptians or the Phoenicians — but 
almost certainly from the latter — the people down the 
east coast of Africa learnt the art of navigation pretty 

* Even still more wonderful and more to the point, as having sailed 
to the entrance of the Mediterranean, is the passage of the Columbia II., 
a tiny ship only 19 feet long with 6 feet beam. Navigated solely by 
Capt. Eisenbram, she sailed from Boston, U.S.A., to Gibraltar, encounter- 
ing severe weather on the way, in 100 days. (See the Timet newspaper 
of November 21, 1903.) 




thoroughly, for we know from Haklujrt that when, at the 
end of the fifteenth century of our era, Vasco da Gama 
doubled the Cape of Good Hope and called at the East 
African ports, he found that the arts of navigation were 
as well understood by the Eastern seamen as by him- 
self. This would seem to imply that these Africans 
had years ago reached the state of advancement in sailing 
a ship already possessed by the more civilised parts of the 

Our evidence as to the actual shape and rig of the 
Phoenician craft is of two kinds. Firstly, thanks to the 
discoveries of the late Sir Austin Layard and his successors, 
we have one or two representations of ships. One of these 
is a rowing boat pure and simple, very tubby, and obviously 
never intended to be used with a sail. Secondly, we have 
the evidence of coins of the towns of Phoenicia. I have 
been so fortunate as to be able to reproduce two of the 
latter, both being of Sidon. 

With regard to the first class, these date back to a 
period of about 700 b.c. On a relief belonging to the 
Palace of Sennacherib found near Nineveh, and now in 
the British Museum, and also on a relief of the Palace of 
Khorsabad, built by King Sargon, there are depicted 
ancient Phoenician ships. This latter is now in the 
Louvre. But these reliefs do not tell us very much, 
though they are of assistance if read in conjunction with 
the coins. The upper deck of the ship from the Senna- 
cherib Palace was reserved for the combatants while 
fighting, and for persons of quality when making a 
passage. We see the latter reclining in the sunshine, 
and the lookout man in the bows. A mast with forestay, 
braces and sail furled to the yard, would be also on the 
top deck, but these would be of no considerable size. A 
row of shields ran round as a protection against the 
enemy's darts, and the stem ended in a powerful ram. At 
least seventeen oarsmen in two banks on each side worked 



the ship, while a couple of steering oars, after the manner 
of the Egyptians, kept her on her course. This was a 
bireme for war purposes. 

But the ship depicted in the Palace of Khorsabad, 
while not showmg any sail, indicates very clearly a mast 

with stays leading fore 
and aft to the bow 
(which ends in a horse's 
head) and to the stern. 
The shape of this craft, 
if it was anything like 
the Phoenician ships, 
which came to Nor- 
thern Europe, would 
certainly seem to prove 
that the Phoenicians 
continued their voyage 
further east to Norway; 
for here, with the high 
tapering stern and bow, 
and the decoration of 
the latter, is what 
could very easily be taken for the early design of the Viking 
ships. She is entirely different from the Egyptian t3rpe of 
ship, though she has evidently been based on the latter. 

Passing now to the two coins of Sidon, these are both 
probably of about the year 450 B.C. Fig. 9 is from a coin 
m the British Museum. It is a little indistinct, but the 
Egyptian stern is still seen, though the ram, as already 
referred to, is at the bows. The double steering oars are 
faintly visible, though the long line of shields, which 
survived well into the middle ages, is clearly defined. 
The curve of the keel-line is very beautiful, and she must 
have been very fast, as indeed we know from historians 
similar shaped vessels in Greece were. Although such a 
ship was of great length, yet by reason of the curve of the 

Fio. 9- Phcenician Ship. 
From a coin oj" Sidon, c. 450 B.a 



keel, having the greatest depth amidships, and because of 
the design of the stern, she would probably steer pretty 
easily. This, of course, was essential in the naval 
manoeuvres that were undertaken in fights. As to the 
sails, if the reader has already followed us in the previous 
chapter, these call for but little explanation again. The 
yard is ordinarily kept fixed. The sails hang apparently 
in two sections like so many curtains, being divided at the 
mast. The same pecuUarity is to be seen in the Irrawadi 
junks referred to previously. 

For shortening sail in a blow, or for stowing when 
coming to anchor, the six brails seen depending from the 
yard would be woimd round the sail, once or twice, by 
sending a couple of men to the top of the yard, the crew 
below throwing up the rope to be passed round sail and 
yard. It was a clumsy method, but it sufficed. The 
reader may remember that the Dutchmen have used this 
principle since the sixteenth century, and the Thames 
barge of to-day still follows the general idea. The only 
real difference is that in the Dutchman and Thames barge, 
being fore-and-aft rigged, the brail comes horizontally — 
at right angles to the mast — instead of vertically, and 
parallel to the mast, whilst, of course, going aloft is un- 
necessary. Even this Dutch brailing system was derived 
from that used by the lateen sails of the Mediterranean. 
(See the mizzen of the Santa Maria, in Fig. 45.) In 
detail, too, there is a slight difference, for the modem ships 
we are mentioning have a ring, or fair-lead, for the brail 
to come through, one end being fastened to the sail, the 
standing part passing through the ring on the leach of the 
sail and so back to the mast. 

What we have said regarding this illustration is applic- 
able also to Fig. 10. But happily this shows us some 
important details in the stern. First, the staff with 
crescent-top denotes that she was the admiral's flag-ship. 
The curved-Une immediately below represents part of the 




1^ fr 


t-f . < 




structure called the aphlaston (a+^Xa?cD=:I crush). This 
was placed as a protection for the ship against the terrible 
damage that might be done by the enemy charging mto 
her and ramming her. A still better example of this 
detail will be noticed 
in Fig. 14. One can 
easily trace this as 
having come from the 
Egyptian ships of the 
eighteenth dynasty 
that went to Punt. 
Immediately below 
this, in Fig. 10 again, 
and hanging down, 
may be either a pro- 
tection against the 
enemy or, as will be 
seen in the ship of 
Odysseus (Fig. 16), a 
kind of decoration 
resembling some rich 
carpet, to ornament the stem where the admiral was 
located in authority. This second Phoenician illustration 
is from a coin in the Hunterian Collection, Glasgow. 
r It has been said that some of the larger Phoenician 
ships were as long as 800 feet, though this statement 
needs to be taken with caution. At any rate, it is 
accurate to describe them as being long, straight, narrow, 
and flat-bottomed, and as carrjdng sometimes as many as 
fifty oarsmen. Although the crescent shape had for so 
long a time been almost a convention for the design of the 
ship, yet the nation that could found so important and 
prosperous a colony as Carthage, and that built ships both 
for Egyptians and Persians, would not be likely to be 
held down too tightly by custom where their own clever 
genius and invaluable practical experience taught them 

Fio. 10. Ph(ENician Ship. 
From a coin ofSidon, c. 450 B.C. 



otherwise. By completely modifying a^^.^^^,^^^^^^ 
been customary in the Egyptian ships, the Phoenicians 
Sefa new fashion in naval architecture which permeat- 
ini th^^^^^ Greek and Roman history, is still found m 
S! aSfof the Adriaticaslate asthe eighteenth century 
nf our eS Those bows, with or without the ram, even 
1 rnXse saiUng galley, show their ancient Phoemcian 
anrestrv in an undeniable manner. ^ , , _ 
' oKormation regarding ancient Greek and Roman 
ships is derived from the following sources : the wntmgs 
of Somer! Herodotus. Thucydides. Cicero, Caesar Tacitus, 
Xenoron. Lucian, PUny Livy. ^schylus. Anstophanes, 
Eurioides, Plutarch, Sophocles, and othere ; the mven- 
S of the Athenian areenals of the fourth centu^ b.c. ; 
SnfGreek vases ; reUefs discovered m Southern Europe 
Tvarious periods ; monuments and tombs ; mosa^s found 
in North Africa, ancient coins ; the Voyages of St. Paul . 
^d finaUy ancient remains such as fibulae, terra-cotta 
models and earthenware lamps. , n a\ 

From these diverse chanJiels of infonnation we fmd 
that the Phoenicians who invented the bireme and the 
S?lme who had adopted the Egyptian ^tern and nggjng ( 
for their ships, handed these features on *« J^e /Jred^^ 
and thev in turn, to the Romans. Ihe earhest trfeeK 
Sfps we e afloat *m the thirteenth century b.c . and by I 
about the year 800 b.c. maritime matters had taken the 
^rtesthcJd on the dwellers in the Greek Pemns^Jf^ a^ 
Se western coasts of Asia Mmor. The fierce race fw 
wealth which to-day we see gomg on m America had ite 
precedent in the eighth century before the Chnstian era 
[n the north-eastern corner of the Mediterranean ..^Vety 
quickly the contestants found that the shortest route to 
^uence was vid the sea. Indeed. foUowmg the example 
of their first teachers, the Phoenicians so ^alously jM 
they keep to theur ships that the Milesian sea-tradere 
forced a party in the State known as « the men never off 



the water." In the seventh century, if not earlier, the 
Greeks were prosperously fishing in the Black Sea ; and 
though the dangers of rounding Mount Athos in the 
iEgean were in those days to some extent analogous to 
the perils which a sailing ship to-day suffers in doubUng 
Cape Horn, yet in the fourth century b.c., Xerxes, rather 
than risk a series of shipwrecks to his fleet in the stormy 
seas at the foot of this mountain, had the sandy isthmus 
connecting the mainland pierced with a canal 

Greece lacked the advantage to be found in a Tigris, a 
Euphrates, or Nile. Her rivers are so short, and their 
descent to the sea so rapid, that navigation was utterly im- 
possible. But for what she missed in rivers she was amply 
compensated in respect of the peculiar formation of the 
coast Endowed with the same blessing that makes the 
west coast of Scotland so attractive (but happily without 
the drawback of the Atlantic immediately outside the 
lochs), Greece had her delightful inlets and arms of the 
seas running far up into the land. The peacefiil waters 
of the Grecian archipelago, the mildness of its cUmate, 
the absence of tides, the comparative smoothness of 
the water— except for occasional squalls with a nasty 
short sea — these were factors every bit as encourag- 
ing for the art of navigation as ever the conditions 
that smiled on the Egyptians. In some respects they 
were more stimulating m proportion as the sea makes a 
better sailor than even the biggest river. Add to this 
that there was at hand an ample supply of good wood and 
that the southern shores of the Euxine were rich not 
merely in tunber but in iron, copper and red-lead. Could 
the shipbuilder's paradise possibly be more complete ? 

There was just one drawback from which, as it seems 
to me, the nations on the Mediterranean compared with 
the inhabitants of Northern Europe have always suffered : 
even till to-day, or at any rate up to the introduction of 
steam, the tendency of the Mediterraneans has been to 


build sailing boats rather than sailing ships. The very 
conditions that prompted naval architecture at all hmited 
thek scope. I mean, of course, that whereas alonff the 
coasts washed by the Baltic, the North Sea and the 
English Channel, the sea-farers had either to budd a ship 
or nothing, the case in the Mediterranean was different. 
The treacherous waters of the North Sea or Baltic, the 
existence of dangerous sand banks and rushing tides, 
were an unfair match for delicately designed craft accus- 
tomed to sun-speckled seas. Although the Vikmg craft 
had their fuU complement of rowers, yet they were far 
abler ships than the over-oared boats of Greece and those 
of the early days of Rome. Right down to the time of the 
Spanish Armada, and after, the tendency wa^ ever for the 
gaUey or galleass— the rowed ship rather than the smlzn^ 
ship— to Unger as long as possible, whereas m the North 
the reverse has been the case. I attribute the prevalence 
of the " galley '* type of craft to two causes— the geogra- 
phical conditions of Southern Europe and the abundance 
of slaves. When any amount of physical rowmg power 
could be got with such ease and absence of expense, it was 
not likely that the saiUng ship, per se, would advance. 1 
think there can be no doubt at all that this condition of 
affairs kept back both the rig and design of shippmg tor 
very many years. The Southerner's first aun was to create 
a craft that would be fast ; the Northerner's object was to 
have a ship that would be seaworthy. The difference 
between being able to ride out a gale and that of being 
able to manoeuvre with all possible despatch in compara- 
tively sheltered waters, will be found to be the basis ot the 
characteristic features that separate the craft of Northern 

and Southern Europe. -, /-, i -r 

In Fig. 11 we have some indication of a Greek sailmg 
ship or boat of about the eighth century, when, as we have 
just said, there existed the great passion for the sea as a 
means to wealth. This iUustration has been sketched 




■J ', 


i I 


from a Boeotian fibula, made of bronze, and now in the 
British Museum. The boat has not the appearance of being 
particularly seaworthy, although it is perfectly clear that 
she is a sailing craft. The aphlaston already alluded to 

will be noticed 
at the stem. 
The bow shows 
the Phoenician 
influence with 
its ram-like fea- 
tures, and this 
continued to 
exist with simi- 
lar prominence 
till at any rate 
the beginning 
of the Christian 
era. Opinions 
differ as to 
whether the 
teeth -like pro- 
jections at DOW 
and stem are just the extending horizontal timbers. Per- 
sonally, I believe they are separate fixtures with bronze 
or iron tips, those at the bow for preventing the ram going 
too far into the enemy's ship ; those at the stem affording a 
protection against being rammed by the enemy. The fore- 
stay leads down to what is apparently a primitive fore- 
castle, and the man in the stem is standing on a platform, 
but so cmde is the draughtsmanship that it would be un- 
safe to affirm that this was raised as high as the forecastle. 
Some have thought that this stern arrangement may denote 
a latticed cabin, but this seems doubtful. However, it is 
quite clear that the skipper is either steering or rowing with 
his foot as the primitive gondolier, while his mate is busy 

Fio. 11. Greek Ship« 
From Bctotian fibula of the eighth century B.C. 


as the look-out. The design at the top of the mast has 
been thought to be a lantern, but it might also be a flag. 

Although not shown in this example, many of the 
early Greek ships had two forestays and a backstay. The 
mast was supported at its foot by a prop, and when 

Fig. 12. Greek War Galley. 
From a vase, c, 500 b.c. 

lowered it lay aft in a rest, being raised and lowered by 
means of the forestays, Uke the custom of the Thames b^e 

and the Norfolk wherry-man. Fig- 12/!^^^° Tt^Vl 
galley taken from a Greek vase of about 500 b.c. It will 
be found in the Second Vase Room of the B"tish Museum. 
The sail (.VH wiU be seen hanging from the jard, 
together with the brails as already described. The two 
hdyards come down on either side of the mast We 
should presume that, having the brails, the Greek ships 
were accustomed to reefing: but we have actual evidence 
from the expression used by Aristophanes « f /«»''. '^'X 
Mo,,," " to keep the sails close-reefed." SimUarl^ 
Euripides has the phrase "S<po.<r. Xaf^ov, itp«<r«8o.j 




7th!\''}^V^if '^^1' ^"*- ""^^^ *»»« outermost ed^es 

fL ifl T^f^•'^ '""^^^ "'''^^°^ '« letter shown^S 

sent IS;fV / '' *'""f ""^ ^ '''^^ *^o b"»ds would be 
sent aloft to go out along the yard. The brails nn! 

pLTacrS fil *" *'"TI? "P *^ *^« me„.'whotoX 
,^,^ * fu *"^*'' one or thrice round the yard accord 
mg to the number of reefs required to beiaS in 
Fig 13 shows . ship close-r,3ed. That thiT S no 
fanciful picture wiU be seen by the reader who caL tn 

Pompei.* on which wiU be noticed one man on deck 

„;fS " A ■ ^ "8 .''^'' "■ »"'«■• that the fichtinir men 
might not hmder the work of the rowers. Thf tm. ba^ts 
of o«s wUl be immediately noticed. AstSn dtTlhe 
S7'rC W„^ ■ '^™e-<»"- T^tXhhan^' 

kyuig out anchors bm, the bowf sea„arf iiSS^L™ 


The ship in Fig. 18 is a merchantman. The gangway* 
are very noticeable. So ako is the Egyptian stem with 
the steering oars. Amidships will be seen the wattled 
screens or washboards, acting as bulwarks for keeping out 
the spray. A similar arrangement was customary on the 

Fig. 13. Greek Merchantman. 
From a vase, c. 500 b.c. 

Viking ships, and remains to this day on Norwegian ships 
of that kind. At the stem of both this ship and that of 
the previous figure will be noticed an ornament resembling 
some plant. Perhaps to us moderns the most striking 
feature of the ship is her beautiful bow : indeed, had one 
not seen the actual vase, one might easily have said that 
the design was taken from a modern schooner bow. There 
are so many points about this merchant ship that attract 
us in looking at her that we wonder, not unnaturally, if 
we have advanced so much after all during these fourteen 
hundred years since she was designed, for such a bow and 
such a stem would win applause in any port. 

The war-gdleys were called longships, and the merchant 






i i 


vessels roundships. This aptly describes the chief difference 
which separated them. Whilst the former were essentially 
rowing-ships, depending on oars only as auxiliaries, the 
merchant ship was primarily a saiUng vessel. Nevertheless 
she carried twenty oars, not so much for progression as 
for turning the ship s head off the wind, and perhaps for 
getting under way and in entering harbour. These 
trading ships were generally built throughout of pine, 
while the war galleys were of fir, cypress, cedar, or 
pine, according to the nature of the forests at hand. 
The merchantmen had keels of pine, but were pro- 
vided with false keels of oak when they had to be 
hauled ashore or put on a sUp for repairs or other reasons. 
It was the custom, however, to keep the merchant ships 
afloat. We have already pointed out that the galleys, on 
the contrary, were usually hauled ashore at night, and 
since the friction of their keels would tend to split the 
wood it was customary for these latter to be of oak. The 
masts and yards and oars were of fir or pine. The timber 
for the keel was selected with especial care, as indeed with 
so much hard wear and tear it was necessary. Among 
other woods that were also used may be mentioned plane, 
acacia, ash, elm, mulberry and lime — these being employed 
especially for the interior of the hull. Alder, poplar and 
timber of a balsam tree were used also. Like the Koryaks 
and the very earUest inhabitants of Northern Europe, in 
some outlandish districts of the Mediterranean the sides 
of the ship were of leather instead of wood, but this would 
be only in cases where the inhabitants were still unlearned 
or there was a scarcity of timber. 

The ancients did not allow the timber to season 
thoroughly, because it would become thereby too stiff 
to bend. Steaming boxes apparently had not come into 
use in shipbuilding. However, after the tree was felled it 
was allowed some time for drying, and then, when the ship 
was built, some time elapsed for the wood to settle. The 


seams were caulked with tow and other packing, being fixed 
with tar or wax, the underbody of the ship being coated 
with wax, tar, or a combined mixture, the wax being 
melted over a fire until soft enough to be laid on with 
a brush. Seven kinds of paint were used, viz., purple, 
violet, yellow, blue, two kinds of white, and green for 
pirates in order that their resemblance to the colour of the 
waves might make them less conspicuous. As we shall 
see in Fig. 21, elaborate designs were painted along the 
sides, but this appears to have been a later custom. The 
latest discoveries in Northern Africa show this decoration 
round the side to be very frequent about the second century 
of the Christian era. Earlier Greek ships had only patches 
of colour on the bows, blue or purple, or vermiUon ; the 
rest of the hull was painted with black tar like many of the 
coasters and fishing smacks of to-day. The painting on the 
bows was probably to facilitate the recognition of the direc- 
tion taken by a vessel. Ships were not copper-bottomed, 
but sometimes a sheathing of lead with layers of tarred sail 
cloth interposed between was affixed to the hull. 

Nails of bronze and iron, and pegs of wood were used for 
fastening the planking, the thickness of the latter varying 
fi'om 2 J to 5 J inches. In order to fortify the warships against 
the terrible shock of ramming, she had to be strengthened 
by wales running longitudinally around her sides. Fig. 14 
shows the stern of aGreek ship of about the fifth centuryB.c. 
The wales or strengthening timbers just mentioned will be 
easily seen. Fig. 15 exhibits another example of the boar's- 
head bow. These two illustrations are taken from a coin 
of Phaselis, in Lycia, now preserved in the British Museum. 
The aphlaston will be immediately recognised in Fig. 14. 

Like the Egyptian ships, these ancient vessels were 
also provided with a stout cable — the vTro^wfia in Greek, 
tormentum in Latin. The spur for ramming was shod 
with metal — iron or copper — and was at first placed below 
the water line, but subsequently came above it The 


; I 




space between the oar-ports was probably about three 
rcet, each oarsman occupying about five feet of room in 
width. A galley having thirty-one seats for rowing would 
have about seventeen feet of beam. The draught of these 

Fio. 14. Stern of a Greek 
Ship (c. 600 b.c). 

Fio. 15. Boar's-head Bow of a 
Greek Ship (c. 600 b.c). 

warships was nevertheless very small — ^perhaps not more 
than four or five feet 

The old method of naval warfare consisted in getting 
right up to the enemy and engaging him alongside in 
a hand-to-hand fight, spears and bows and arrows being 
used. There is an Etruscan vase in the British Museum 
of the sixth century, which shows this admirably. At a 
later date this method was altered in favour of ramming. 
The ship would bear down on the enemy, and an endeavour 
would be made to come up to him in such a way as to 
break off all his oars at one side, thereby partially disabling 
him. But if the enemy were smart enough, he would be 
able to go on rowing until the critical moment, when with 
great dexterity, he would suddenly shorten his oars in- 
wards. We have also referred to the protection of the 
stern against the wicked onslaught of the ram, but the 
ship ramming, lest her spur should penetrate too far into 
the enemy's stern and so break off, had usually, above, a 


head which acted as a convenient buffer. But we must 
not forget that sails and mast were lowered before battle, 
since the galley was much more handy under oars alone. 
The excitement of a whole week s bumping races on the 
Isis must be regarded as very slow compared to the 
strenuous plashing of oars, the shouts of the combatants, 
and the ensuing thud and splintering of timbers thattg 
characterised a Mediterranean engagement. ^ 

The reader will find in Fig. 16 one of the finest speci- 
mens of a Greek sailing galley with one bank of oars. It 
is taken from a vase in the Third Room in the British 
Museum, the date being about 500 b.c. As many as eight 
brails are shown here. The number of these gradually 
became so great that we find in the Athenian inventories 
of the fourth century b.c. that the rigging of a trireme and 
quadrireme included eighteen brails. No doubt, as time 
went on, it was found more convenient to be able to brail 
the sail up at closer intervals. In the present illustration 
the sail is furled right up to the yard and the rowers are 
doing all the work. Before passing on to another point 
we must not fail to notice the fighting bridge or forecastle, 
the shape of the blades of the oars, and the decoration of 
the stern previously alluded to. A capital instance here is 
afforded us of the ever watchful eye which we mentioned 
in our introductory chapter as being a notable feature of 
the ancient ship. It is worth while remarking, as showing 
the extent of t^is practice, that a representation of an eye 
is still to be found as a distinguishing attribute on the 
Portuguese fishing boats to-day. 

. At the very first, on the Greek as on the Eg5rptian 
ships, thongs were used for rowlocks, but subsequently 
holes were left, as seen in the illustration, for the oars to be 
passed through. Because the mast had to be taken down 
before battle, the war galleys were not fully decked all over. 
Amidships she was open, but, as we have already seen, 
bridges or gangways extended fore and aft on either side 

E 65 






m ca 

u O 

c ^ 




s •« 


of the mast, so that the fighting crew should in no way 
interfere with the oarsmen. Partial decks were also found 
at bow and stem. Even in the time of Cassar, we find 
that completely covered vessels were not in general use. 
These flying bridges were placed on supports and then 
covered with planks as shown in Fig. 12, leaving the 
intermediate hold undecked. The sail was made of several 
pieces of white canvas or cloth. Not infrequently they 
were coloured, a black sail being a universal sign of 
mourning, while a purple or vermilion denoted the ship of 
an admiral or sovereign. Just as pirates were wont to 
paint their ships the colour of the sea, so in the time of 
war, on board scout-ships, both sails and ropes were dyed 
of that hue. One can easily understand that with the 
powerful rays of the southern sun their disguise would 
nave been effectual. 

Ropes were made of twisted ox-hide, or fibres of the 
papyrus plant. This was the usual practice for many 
years also in other parts of Europe. The edges of the sail 
were bound with hide, the skins of hyena and seal being 
especially used for this purpose, as the sailors believed this 
would keep off lightning. The Koryaks, also, still employ 
seal-hide for sails and ropes. Later on, windlasses were 
introduced for working the halyards and cables of the 
larger ships. After the crew had gone aboard the galley, 
and everything was ready for getting under way, the gang- 
way would be slung from the stern, and three poles would 
be used for pushing off from the shore. It is interesting 
to remark that the word used for this pole by Homer — 
KovTOi — is still found in the word "quant," given to a 
long pole for pushing the Norfolk wherries in calms along 
the banks. ' 

The vessel shown in Fig. 17 is a terra-cotta model of a 
merchant ship. The socket for the mast will easily be seen. 
The high stern aft must not be supposed to have been 
raised to such an altitude solely for the convenience of the 



steersman. The greatest foe that the merchantman had 
to contend with was the pirate who swept down and robbed 
him of his cargo. Therefore, to obtain some protection, 
these traders were usually fitted with turrets of great 
height, by means of which missiles could be hurled down 

Fig. 17. Terra-cotta Model of Greek Ship of the Sixth Century b.c. 

on to the enemy below. It is possible that the side 
" castles " shown were also used as some protection for the 
steersmen, one standing in each with the protection of a 
roof over him. Probably, too, on these occasions the 
score of oars would be brought out in order to manoeuvre 
quickly. A merchant ship sometimes carried as many as 
eight of these turrets (two in the bows, two in the stern 
and four amidships). They were easily movable and were 
known to have reached to a height of twenty feet. The 
model here shown belongs to the sixth century B.C. It 
will be noticed that she has a very flat bottom, but 
this would be a convenience whenever she had to be 
beached, for there were only two sailing seasons — in the 
spring, and in the months between midsummer and autumn. 
After the settmg of the Pleiads, the ship was beached and 
a stone fence built around her to keep off wind and 
weather. This custom, then, would somewhat modify 


her lines below the waterline. It was, further, the custom 
to pull the plug out when laying up for the winter, so that 
the water should not rot the bottom. Tackle and sail and 
steering oars were carefully stored at home until the fair 
weather returned once more. These were the customs as 
far back as 700 b.c. 

The model we have just alluded to was found in 
Cyprus, and is now in the British Museum. Many others 
similar to this have also been found. There is an amusing 
legend that Kinyras, king of Cyprus, having promised to 
send fifty ships to help the Greeks against Troy, sent only 
one, but she carried forty-nine others of terra-cotta manned 
by terra-cotta figures. 

Although the Phoenicians probably must be credited 
with the honour of having invented the trireme, a ship 
with a triple arrangement of oars, yet the Greeks were 
responsible for having developed the use of this to a 
considerable extent, especially after the fifth century b.c. 
Eventually the word "trireme" denoted not necessarily 
that she had this triple arrangement, but became a 
generic expression for warships. We have in later 
history similar instances of the same designation remain- 
ing to a ship even when she has entirely altered the right 
to her previous definition. Thus the galleass, which was^^ 
essentially a rowing vessel, frequently bore the same name ' 
during the Middle Ages, even when she was a sailing ship 
proper. A similar instance may be found in the different 
meanings which the words "barge,'' "wherry," "yawl,'* 
** cutter," and " barque " denote at different times. 

Triremes had two kinds of sails and two kinds of masts, 
but before battle the larger sail and the larger mast were 
always put ashore. Such enormous yards and masts 
would be very much in the way on boats of this kind. 
Regarding the arrangement of the oars of the trireme 
much controversy has been raised. The theories of thirty 
or more banks of oars have now been pretty well dismissed. 





The amount of freeboard that this would have given to a 
ship must necessarily have been colossal, and militated 
against the very object they had in view, viz., handiness. 
It is highly probable that the crew consisted of two 
hundred rowers, sixty-two on the highest tier, fifty-four 
on the middle and fifty-four on the lowest, in addition 
to thirty fighting men stationed on the highest deck. 
The upper oars would thus pass over what we now call 
the gunwale, the second and third rows being through 
port holes. Even when very large numbers of oarsmen 
are mentioned, we must not suppose that there were so 
many lines of rowers as that ; several men were needed to 
each oar. Considering their weight and the size of later 
ships, this would seem to be very necessary. 

Before we pass from the subject of the trireme, it is 
not without interest to mention that in the year 1861 
Napoleon III. had constructed a trireme 39 metres in 
length and 5 J metres in beam. She carried 130 oarsmen, 
who were placed two by two. Of these forty-four were 
on the first row, the same number on the second, and 
forty-two on the top. Like her ancestors she had a three- 
fold spur, a rostrum, and two steering oars. But to us a 
far more important piece of information lies in the fact 
that she was actually experimented with on the sea at 
Cherbourg in good weather. It was found that she bore 
out all that hadf ever been written by the ancient historians 
concerning her : for she was both very fast and could be 
nanoeuvred with great ease.* According to the ancients, 
a trireme could average as much as seven and a half knots 
an hour, covering one hundred and ten during a day. The 
merchant ship was going at a good pace when she reeled 
off her five knots an hour. Her average was about sixty 

• A model of this ship is to be seen in the Louvre. See " Mus^e A 
R^trospectif de la Classe SS. Materiel de la Navigation de Commerce A 
I'Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1900. k Paris. Raprxjrt du 
Comity d'Installation." * * 



knots in a day : but during a whole day and night, with a 
favourable wind, she was capable of doing as much as a 
hundred and thirty. Comparing this speed with the craft 
of to-day, it may be worth noting that the average day s 
run of a moderate-sized coaster would work out at a 
hundred or hundred and twenty knots. The speed 
of the ships of the Mediterranean was not slow, then, 
though they would appear ridiculous if compared with 
some of the marvellous passages made by the famous old 
clippers of the second half of the nineteenth century of 

our era. , , ^ , xu j. ^ 

The navigation employed by the Greeks was that ot 
coasting from port to port, from one headland across a 
bay to another. There was no such thing, of course, as 
being able to lay a compass course from one point to 
another out of sight. The system of buoyage was also 
non-existent, but there were lighthouses, as we know from 
designs on ancient pottery and reliefs. On certain points 
of the land the Greeks erected high towers, the most 
ancient of these being at the entrance to the iEgean Sea 
—about 800 B.C. Later, about the period of 300 B.C., a 
tower was raised on the island of Pharos, near Alexandria. 
At its summit two wooden fires were kept burning con- 
stantly, so that the flame by night and the smoke by day 
might aid the primitive navigators. In the fourth century 
B.C., however, Pytheas, by means of an instrument called 
the gnomon, which indicated the height of the sun by the 
direction of the shadow cast on a flat surface, determined 
the day of the summer solstice, to which the greatest 
height of the sun corresponds. He thus succeeded in 
fixing the latitude of Marseilles. 

We have already mentioned that when a galley was 
cleared for action she sent her big spars and sails ashore. 
One set of double halyards of course served for these, the 
larger sails and spars being no doubt for fair weather when 
near the shelter of the land. :Mr. Torr in his excellent 










little book,* which is a mine of information, the result 
of considerable classical research, gives the name of akation 
to the smaller gear — mast, sail and yard included. He 
mentions the very interesting fact that the expression 
"hoisting the akation " became S5monymous with "running 

away " from the enemy. Aris- 
tophanes made use of the phrase 
in a play produced in 411 b.c. 

The names doloii in 201 b.c. 
and artemon found mentioned 
about 100 B.C., were also used to 
indicate the smaller masts and 
sails. We shall refer to this 
latter again presently. Anchors 
are supposed to have been among 
the inventions of Anacharsis. 
In the earliest times they were, 
as one would expect, merely a 
heavy weight of stone. Then 
they were made of iron, and later 
on of lead. Fig. 18 shows that 
the shape was a cross between a modem "mushroom "anchor 
and the ordinary one in everyday use. The triangular space 
at the crown was used for bending on a tripping line. The 
illustration is of a coin found in ApoUonia (in Thrace), and 
now in the British Museum. The date is about 420 b.c. 
Two anchors were carried by galleys, and three or four 
by merchantmen. Even in those days the mariners under- 
stood the usefulness of marking the position of their anchors 
with cork floats. The cables were of chain and of rope. 
Flags and lights were used on the admiral's ship, three 
being allowed for the latter and one for galleys. 

The illustration in Fig. 19 has been taken from De 
Baif s book,t not so much because it gives a representative 

Fig. 18. a Coin of Apollonia, 
SHOWING Shape of Anchor. 


• "Ancient Ships," by Cecil Torr, Cambridge, 1894. 

t " Lazari Bayfii annotationes . ■ . de re navali." Paria, 1536. 


picture of what a Roman warship was like, as for the fact 
that the various parts of the ship may by this means be 


Fig. 19. a Roman Warship. 

made somewhat clearer than if we had an ancient relief ' 
before us. I have, up till now, throughout this chapter, 
included Roman vessels under the description given to the 
Greek ships, there being for a long time but little difference. 



In Fig. 19, A is the fighting top; BB are the ends or 
" horns " of the sail yards ; CC are the antennce or yards ; 
D is the mast ; E is the carchesiwn or upper part of the 
mast to which the halyards led ; F is the tracheliLS, being 
half way up the mast ; G is the pterna or heel of the 
mast ; HH are the opiferi funes or braces ; I is a 
rope — cahs (ladder) ; KK are the backstays ; L is the 
figurehead, the parasemon or distinguishing mark, so that 
in a fleet of ships, each alike as to rig and size, this would 
be very necessary ; M is the stern ; N is the turret or fore- 
castle already discussed above ; O is the prow ; P is the 
all-vigilant eye which the ship was supposed to possess ; Q 
is the rostrum, beak or boar s head, while R is the rostrum 
tridens with its three-toothed ram ; S is the epotides 
or cathead whence the anchor was let down. The word is 
used by Euripides and Thucydides. T is the katastroma 
or fl)dng deck, that the marines might be able to fight 
without hindering the rowers ; V, of course, shows the 
oars, X the hull ; Y is the dryochus which properly means 
one of the trestles or props on which the keel for a new 
ship is laid ; Z is the clavus or handle of the tiller ; 
" & " refers to the tiller itself. 

Fig. 20 is also taken from De Baif, and is reproduced 
here not as being an accurate representation of a Roman 
sailing ship, but because it well illustrates by its exaggera- 
tion several points not easily discernible in other repro- 
ductions. The inclined mast in the bows carries the 
artemon sail, but it is out of all proportion. A is the 
steersman ; BB are the oarsmen ; C is the Trpt^pdrri^, or in 
Latin proreta — the look-out man ; D represents the beak 
— Ta aKptjjTr'ipia, the extremities of the ship ; E is the Opovog, 
or seat of authority for the steersman. (Compare a 
similarity in the illustration of Furttenbach's valley, in 
Fig. 58.) 

Coming now to the ships of much later date, the 
dimensions were sometimes pushed to vast extremes. 


Exulting as we rightly are in these days of magnificent 

liners of immense tonnage and luxurious comfort, it seems 

astounding that the ancients, when they had embraced 

self-indulgence whole-heartedly and set forth to throw 

away their fine 

e n e r g i es in 

wasteful and 

extravagant ^| 


should at so 

early a date 

have built 


ships fitted 

with the most 


deck- houses, 

with bronze 

baths and 

marbled rooms, 

with paintings 

and statues and 

mosaics in their 

Fig. 20. Roman Ship. 

sumptuous saloons, with libraries and covered walks along 
the decks, ornamented with rows of vmes and truit trees 
planted in flower-pots. Even the ample luxury and the 
small trees on the decks of the Mauretama have not yet 
reached to such excesses of civilisation. Throughout the 
third century B.C., several of these monstrosities were built 
by the kings of Sicily, Macedonia, Alexandria and Asia 
The size of one of these " floating palaces (to use here 
aptly a much abused expression) may be gathered trom 
the dimensions of one of them, which was 280 cubits 
long, 38 cubits wide, while the stem rose to a height ot 
48 cubits above the water. Nevertheless, her draught, m 
spite of so much top-hamper, did not exceed 4 cubits, ana 



she carried seven rams, was fitted with a double and stern, 
and had no less than four steering paddles. 

Could we but see some of these ancient mammoth 
ships, could we but wander through their saloons looking 
up at the wonderful statuary, marvelling at the spacious- 
ness of the tiled galleries, how interesting it would be ! 
How we should thrill with delight at being once more 
transported into the ships of Roman times ! Of course, 
you will say, such a thing is impossible. Even if repre- 
sentations are preserved on tomb or mosaic of con- 
temporary ships it would be ridiculous to expect that the 
ships themselves should still exist. But we all know that 
truth is sometimes wonderfully romantic, and in the 
history of ships there are some amazing surprises always 
ready for our attention. Let us say at once, then, that 
two of these floating palaces of the time of Caligula are 
m existence to-day in Italy. Their details are interesting 
to the highest degree, and the foUowing account, based, as 
will be seen, on actual experiences of those who have been 
into the ships, agrees with the historical descriptions 
already referred to. For the valuable particulars of 
these two ships of Caligula, I am indebted to Mr. St. 
Clair Baddeley and to Senor Malfatti.* 

Caligula possessed that overpowering passion for water 
and ships which throughout the world's history has always 
manifested itself in explorer or privateer, yachtsman, or 
whomsoever else. Suetonius t says that this megalo- 

•See "Caligula's Galleys in the Lake of Nemi," by St Clair 
Baddeley article in the Nineteenth Century and After, March, igOQ; 
also "Le Navi Romane del Lago di Nemi," by V. Malfatti, Rome, 1905 
which gives an interesting account, with illustrations, of the finding of 
these galleys, as well as an excellent plan of one of the ships of Caligula 
as far as she has been explored. She has a rounded stern and pointed 
r V ^" »"gen\ous pictorial effort is made to reconstruct the ffalley 
afresh The book contains photographs of the floats, showing the shape 
ot the boat, and of some of the chief relics recovered in 1 805 
t " Life of Caligula/' xxxvii. ^ 



maniac had built two galleys with ten banks of oars, 
each having a poop that blazed with jewels and sails that 
were parti-coloured. These "galleys" were fitted with 
baths, galleries, saloons, and supplied with a great variety 
of growing trees and vines. In one of these ships, Cali- 
gula was wont to sail in the daytime along the coast 
of Campania, feasting amidst dancing and concerts of 

music. o ^T - 

Now, in the northern end of the Lake of Nemi, not 
far from the Campanian coast, there still lie to this day, at 
right angles to each other, two such galleys as Suetonius 
describes. Recent research beneath the water has revealed 
much that is invaluable to us in the study of the sailing 
ship. From the inscriptions on several lengths of jlead 
piping laid for the purpose of supplying the galleys with 
water, and which have been brought up by divers, it is 
proved that these belonged to Caligula, and that therefore 
they are of the remote period of 37-41 a.d. And this 
date has been further corroborated by the discovery of tiles 
and bronze sculptures found on board. 

The history of the efforts to make these galleys speak 
to us from the depths of their watery grave is almost as 
interesting as their very existence. During the fifteenth 
century, owing to the fact that fishermen on the lake 
frequently in their nets drew ashore objects of wood and 
bronze, divers were sent below and discovered the un- 
doubted existence of a ship of some sort. At last ropes 
were made fast and endeavours were made to draw the 
vessel to shallow water, but these efforts were only crowned 
with the unfortunate result of breaking off part of the 
stem. However, the nails were found to be of bronze, 
whilst in length some were as much as a cubit. The wood 
was discovered to be larch, and the vessel to be sheathed 
with lead, covering a stiff lining of woollen-cloth padding 
fastened on by bronze studs. It is important to note that 
the ancients in 37 a.d. had the good sense to realise what 


Mi . « 


Sir Philip Howard, and other naval authorities in the time 
of Charles II., did not discover until the year 1682, that 
lead sheathing round a ship, used with iron nails, was bound 
to set up corrosion.* 

Further operations on Lake Nemi were suspended until 
the year 1535, when an expert went below to the ship 
again. A large amount of ner wood was brought to the 
surface, and was found to consist of pine and c)^ress, as 
well as the larch previously noticed. The pegs were of 
oak, and many bronze nails in perfect preservation were 
rescued from the deep. These, said the diver, fastened the 

f)late of lead to the hull of the ship. There was also a 
ining of linen between the lead and the timber, whilst 
within the ship were pavements of tiles two feet square, 
and segments of red marble and enamel. He also makes 
reference to the rooms of this watery palace. As to her 
size, this was found to be about 450 feet long, and about 
192 broad, whilst the height from keel to deck was about 
51 feet. 

Various attempts were made in 1827 by means of a 
diving bell, but no success resulted, and it was not until 
September of 1905 that a fresh search was made by 
divers, when both galleys were located at a depth of 
thirty feet of water. " By attaching long cords with corks 
to the galleys, the divers," says Mr. Baddeley, " sketched 
out in outlines on the surface the shape of the vessels." 
The length of the other vessel was found to be 90 feet by 
26 feet beam. The decks were paved with elaborate 
mosaic work in porphyry, green serpentine and rosso 
anticOf intermingled with richly-coloured enamel. The 
bulwarks were found to be cast in solid bronze and to have 
been once gilded, for traces of the latter were manifest 
From the other vessel lying nearer in-shore, the divers 
brought up various beautiful sculptures. The outer edge 
of the vessel is covered with cloth smeared with pitch, 

• See p. 245. 



and over this occur folds of thin sheet lead, doubled over 
and fastened down upon it with copper nails. 

It is thought that these galleys were designed by their 
builder Caligula in imitation of those he used along the 
Campanian coast which, though sailing ships, were rather 
of the nature of floating villas. As to their purpose, it is 
probable that they were connected with the worship of 
Virbius and of Diana. There, then, at the bottom of 
Lake Nemi, these two galleys lie— still in existence, though 
owing to their long immersion and the depth of the water 
their ultimate recovery is extremely doubtful. -^ 

Among the many interesting items of marine informa- 
tion which we are enabled to gather from the voyages of 
St. Paul, we find * that the lead-line was in use, for we are 
told that " they sounded and found it twenty fathoms : and 
when they had gone a little further they sounded again 
and found it fifteen fathoms." Also they '' were in all in 
the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls," so she 
was a vessel of considerable size. Then in the morning, 
having espied a snug little creek with a good shore for 
beaching, " when they had slipped their anchors they left 
them in the sea, at the same time loosing the rudder bands, 
hoisted up the artemon, and made towards the beach." 
They had, no doubt long previously, learned the action 
which has saved many hundreds of ships, at all times of 
the world's history, from foundering, by detaching the cable 
from the ship and not waiting to heave up the anchor. 
Moreover, they had found a nice beach under their lee, so 
the artemon or fore-sail was hoisted up the small foremast, 
and she would be able to make the beach without too 
much way on, and without the enormous amount of work 
that would have been necessary had the mainsail been set 
— a proceeding, considering the weather about, that they 
were not anxious to attempt. " Artemon " is the word 
used in the Greek of the New Testament : the translation 

• Acts xxvii. 







of this as " mainsail " in the authorised version is of course 
quite wrong. The later ships were fitted with a mainsail 
and mast, but also a small foremast tilted at an angle of 
perhaps twenty-three degrees projected out from the bows, 
on which another small square sail was set. This was the 
artemon or foresail, and it would be in just such a manoeuvre 
as this, or for giving the ship a sheer when getting up the 
cable or when coming into port even in fine weather, that 
this headsail would be found of the greatest use. We 
must not forget that this kind of foremast and foresail 
continued right till the beginning of the nineteenth century 
on all full-rigged ships, in the form of bowsprit and sprit- 
sail, until the triangular headsails with which we are so 
familiar nowadays came in. Finally, before we leave the 
voyages of St. Paul, we must not omit to notice the 
reference to the statement that after the anchors had 
been slipped they loosed the rudder bands. Instead of 
leaving the rudders to get foul of the stern cables when 
they had put out the four anchors, or to run the risk of 
being dashed to pieces by the waves, the ropes extending 
from the stern to the extremities of the steering oars 
would be hauled up so that the blades were quite clear 
of the water. It was a similar operation to a Thames 
barge hauling up her leeboards. Therefore, having cast 
off their anchors and being under way again, the rudder- 
ropes would necessarily be lowered. The same method 
of " rudder-bands " obtained among the Vikings. If the 
reader will turn to Fig. 29, of the Gogstad Viking ship, he 
will readily appreciate this point. 

I am not going to enter here into any discussion as to 
the authorship of the Acts of the Apostles, but whoever 
he may have been had an accurate knowledge of the ships 
of his time, for we are able to see just the same kind of 
ship as St. Paul's in a merchantman of about the year 50 
A.D. and another of seventeen years later. The artemon 
mast and sail are well shown. It was, of course, the 













artemon mast that was the forerunner of the modern 
bowsprit. One can estimate the size of the mercantile 
ships of the Mediterranean of about the first and second 
centuries from Lucian, who refers to a merchantman 
engaged in the corn-carrying trade between Egypt and 
Italy. Her length was 180 feet, her breadth a little more 
than a quarter of her length, while her depth from upper 
deck to bottom of hold was 43J feet The registered 
tonnage of the largest trading ships was about 150. 

We have in Fig. 21 a very instructive illustration of 
two Roman merchant ships of about the year 200 a.d. 
This has been copied from a relief found near the mouth 
of the Tiber. The advance in shipbuilding since the times 
of the Egyptians has continued. The great high stern is 
still there, the bow remaining lower than the poop. The 
steering oar is very well shown, together with the " rudder 
bands " that we have just spoken of. They will be found 
to be two in number, coming down from the ship's quarter, 
and passing through holes bored in the blade of the rudder. 
The tiller is of considerable length. The decoration under 
the stem with classical figures is very beautiful, while 
above is the familiar swan's neck which accentuates the 
general duck-like lines of the ship. Three bollards aft and 
four forward, are seen for mooring purposes. The shape 
of the stem is worth noting for this must have been fairly 
common in big ships, and we shall find something very 
similar in the vessels of Northern Europe up to the 
fourteenth century. The rigging shows to what know- 
ledge they had attained by now. The dead-eyes for 
setting up the shrouds, the purchase for getting the power- 
ful forestay down tight, together with a similar arrange- 
ment on the artemon mast, are deserving of careful notice. 
The mainsail will be seen to be hoisted by two halyards, 
foot-ropes apparently being provided for the men sent up 
to furl it. I have noticed that in most of the old illustra- 
tions depicting men going aloft, the sailors usually ascend 

M )■ 



7. > 


naked. This will be observed in the present illustration. 
The obvious conclusion is that they wished to be perfectly 
free and unfettered in their movements and to run no risk 

of their garments 
being caught in the 
rigging. The ships 
are moored to the 
quay by taking the 
stay of the artemon 
ashore. There is a 
different figurehead 
on the bows of each 
ship, while in the 
background, to the 
left of the middle 
of the picture, will 
be seen the warn- 
ing beacon previously 
alluded to, the build- 
ing below it with 
small windows being 
probably the leading 
lights for coming into 
the harbour. The sail 
has a triangular top- 
sail in two pieces 
without a yard of its 
own. The yard of 
the main-sail appears 
now to be made in 
one piece instead of two, but the point where, owing 
to the binding together of the two pieces, the yard was 
thickest, is still so in the centre. The sheets and braces 
will be recognised at once, but we must say a word regard- 
ing the brails that were now employed. If the reader will 
examine the sail shown set in this illustration, he will find 

Fig. 22. Roman Ship entering Harbour. 

From an earthenware lamp in ike 

British Museum, 


that the brails pass through rings on the fore-side of the 
canvas, then either through the top of the sail or just over it, 
between the yard and the edge of the sail itself, and so down 
to the stem. In the picture 
three of the brails are seen 
coming down so as to be 
within reach of the steers- 
man. The action of brailing 
or reefing, then, must have 
been somewhat similar to 
the process of drawing up 
the domestic blinds that 
are familiar to us by the 
name of Venetian. The 
reader will no doubt have 
seen many drop-curtains 
in our theatres of to-day 
worked on the same prin- 
ciple as these brails worked 
the Roman sails. 

The sails were not 
infrequently ornamented. 
The present illustration 
shows a sail bearing the 
devices of a Roman em- 
peror. Topsails had come 
mto use quite a hundred 
and fifty years before this ship, but they were far more 
popular on the Mediterranean than in the more boisterous 
waters of Northern Europe. 

Fig. 22, taken from an earthenware lamp in the British 
Museum, shows another ship of this period entering harbour. 
The sail is furled to the yard, there is a crew of six on 
board, one of whom is at the helm, one is at the stern 
blowing a trumpet announcing their approach — an incident 
that one often sees depicted in the early seals of English 


Fig. 23. Fishing-boat in Harbour. 

From an earthenware lamp in the 
British Museum, 


ships — three men are engaged in furling the sails, and the 
man in the bows is standing by to let go the anchor. At 
the extreme left of the picture will be seen the lighthouse. 
I am sorry it is not possible to give the reader a better 
illustration of this lamp, but it is of such nature as almost 
to defy satisfactory reproduction. Fig. 23, taken from 
another lamp in the same museum, represents a har- 
bour with buildings on the quay in the background. A 
man is seen fishing from his boat in the foreground, with 
another man ashore about to cast a net into the water. 

I am fortunate in being able to supplement our previous 
knowledge of ships of this period by some important in- 
formation that has been brought to light through excava- 
tions and discoveries near Tunis in Northern Africa. 
These were completed by M. P. Gauckler only as recently 
as the year 1904, and I am indebted to his very in- 
teresting account* for much of the information to be 
derived from these. In a building at Althiburus, near to 
Tunis, a mosaic was unearthed containing about thirty 
representations of several kinds of sailing and rowing boats. 
Below nearly every one the artist has thoughtfully put the 
name of each craft, usually in both Greek and Latin. Not 
one of these is a war- vessel. This is exceedingly fortunate, 
since hitherto we have possessed far less information ot 
the trading vessels than of the biremes, triremes and 
Liburnian galleys. But the ships in the Althiburus mosaic 
all belong entirely to the mercantile marine. The dis- 
covery, in fact, has brought to light the most complete 
and precise catalogue we possess of ancient ships of Rome. 
M. Gauckler thinks that this list has been taken from 
some glossary or nautical handbook written about the 
middle of the first century before our era. He fixes the 
date of the mosaics as about 200 a.d., and the evidence of 

• "Un Catalogue Figur6 de la Batellerie Gr^co-Romaine — La 
Mosaique d'Althiburus," par P. Gauckler, in *• Monuments et Memoires." 
Tome douzi^me^ Paris^ 1905. ^ 



the ships themselves certainly confirms the view that they 
belong to some period not much before the time of the 
birth of our Lord. 

The mosaic includes a number of craft that were not 
sailing ships, such as the schedia or raft, the tesseraria, 
a rowing boat called the parOy the mtisculus or mydion^ 
and the hippago^ a pontoon for transporting horses 
across a waterway. But whether sailing or rowing 
boats, they all bear unmistakable traces of the influ- 
ence of the Phoenician, Greek and Roman war-galleys. 
Almost every craft shows an effort, not altogether success- 
ful, to break away from the design that had dominated 
the Mediterranean so long, for we must not forget that it 
is an historical fact that the Romans, though they brought 
the war-galley as near perfection as possible, did this at the 
expense of the merchant ships, which they sadly neglected. 
It is only natural, of course, that a nation that is always at 
war has no time to expand its merchant shipping. The 
reverse was the case with the Egyptians, who, being more 
of a peace-loving nature, developed their cargo ships far 
more, for it was not until fairly late in Egyptian history that 
the warship was attended to ; we may even go so far as 
to assert that it was not until the time of the Middle Ages 
that the merchant ship both of the Mediterranean and the 
North of Europe, made any real progress. As long as 
civilisation was scanty and pirates were rampant on every 
sea, commerce was bound to remain at a standstill. In- 
deed, in the time of the early Greeks, it was thought no 
act of discourtesy to ask a seafaring stranger whether he 
was a pirate or merchant. So accustomed are we in these 
days to peace and plenty that we have need to remind 
ourselves constantly that there were no trade routes kept 
open, no policing of the seas, no international treaties nor 
diplomatic relations to prevent a peaceful merchant ship 
from disappearing altogether on the high seas, or staggering 
into port with the loss of her cargo and most of her crew. 








The Egyptian stern still survives in these mosaics with 
modifications, but the greatest difficulty the naval archi- 
tects appear to have had was with the bow. What to do 
with the ram-like entrance has obviously been a source of 
great worry. In the end, so that the merchant ship might 
not look too war-like, a curve has been added above the 
bulwarks at the bows to balance the curve at the waterline 
of the ram. The rowing arrangements exhibit a square 
hole in the gunwale for the oar to pass through. 

Of the sailing boats and ships depicted in mosaic the 
corbita shows a freer design than the others. She is 
more or less crescent-shaped and not unlike the earlier 
caravels in hull. A ship of burthen, she has a mast, and 
the steering oar is seen at the starboard. Another illustra- 
tion of this type of " corvette " is shown with a steering 
oar at each side, the sail furled to the yard, a couple of 
braces and the mast supported by six shrouds — three 
forward and three aft. The mast has a great rake forward, 
and there appears to be a narrow platform running round 
the hull as a side-walk, a relic, no doubt, of the flying deck 
that kept the marines separate from the rowers. 

Another sailing ship called the catascopiscus obvi- 
ously derived her name from the corresponding Greek 
word meaning to reconnoitre or scout ; for she was famous 
as a light, fast-sailing ship. Her mast and sail are shown 
in the mosaic, as weU as the halyards and the brailing lines. 

The actuaria was a light, easily propelled ship, similar 
»T) the last. The mosaic (reproduced in Fig. 24) shows 
the sail furled to the yard and, what is significant, a rope- 
ladder, up which one of the sailors is ascending. Of the 
other two men one is sculling with two oars, while the 
captain is seen in the bows holding a mallet, which he 
knocks on the boat that the sculler may keep correct 
time and rhythm in a manner not very far separated fi-om 
the exhortations of the " cox " of our University eights. 
This was the kind of ship which Caesar employed during 


an expedition to Brittany, and will be referred to again 

in the next chapter. 

Another sailing ship, called by the artist a myoparo, 
shows two halyards, and the sail divided curtain-like as we 
saw in the Phoenician ships. She also has the Egyptian 

Fig. 24. Navis Actuaria. 
From a mosaic at AUhihurus, near Tunit, 

stem and a modified galley bow. The myoparo was a 
light, swift vessel, chiefly used by pirates. The stem of 
the English word " peir " ( meaning to attempt to rob) is 
thus found in the name of the ship. Plutarch makes 
use of the name of this species of ship. The prosumia 
contains just such a sail as we saw in Fig. 21, the brails 
being very clearly shown. A sailing ship called a ponto 
has a small artemon foremast and main. The former has 
shrouds to support it, but the yard and sail are not shown. 


n fH 



They would be kept in the hold somewhere, and only 
fitted when specially needed. This ship is of Gallic 
origin, and is mentioned by Cassar, who refers to the 
•' pontones quod est genus navium GaUicarum." * Finally, 
in these mosaics, we have the cladivata, a ship that re- 
sembles the vessel referred to by Mr. Torr in his "Ancient 
Ships *• as having been found at Utica, and belonging to 
about the year 200 a.d. This cladivata has also two 
masts and sails of similar size, with the brailing arrange- 
ment of this period as already shown. There is some 
uncertainty concerning the derivation of the word, but it 
possibly owes its origin to being named after Claudius. 

Such, then, was the development of the sailing ship in 
the waters of Southern Europe. We shall now, leaving 
behind the first ships that sailed the Mediterranean, proceed 
in our enquiry to the shores of Northern Europe, and 
consider what was the nature of their ships which had to 
voyage under conditions far less encouraging than those 
of the warm southern seas. 

• " De Bello Ciyili," iii 29. 





HE evidence that we possess, in order 
accurately to judge, of the early 
ships that sailed the seas of the 
Baltic, German Ocean, Bay of 
; Biscay, and EngUsh Channel, is 
I both conclusive and diverse. We 
have in the writings of Caesar and 
Tacitus, many details of ships 
that are of considerable interest. 
This literature is supplemented 
, by the old Sagas* of Scandi- 

navia, which, though highly informative, err on the side of 
exaggeration. Rock sculptures existing m the land ot the 
Vikings, though somewhat the subject of controversy, are, 
in the writer's opinion, of real, valuable help m the study 
of sailing ships. There is also some evidence of later 
ships in the old coins of Northern Europe. But it is when 
we come to the important excavations that have revealed 
—nearly always accidentally— the ships of a bygone age, 
many hundreds of years old, that we are confronted with 

• Sagas— or « says," narratires— are records of the leading events of 
the lives of great Norsemen and their families. Hundreds of these 
records exist, though many of them are purely mythical, ^hcy d*tc 
from a period not earlier than the sixth century of our era, but the 
downward limit cannot be exactly fixed. Not unnatura ly^ m such national 
epics as centre round the kings of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, we find 
references to sailing ships both frequent and detailed. 


the most undeniable and complete source of information 
that one could desire. 

These excavations have revealed discoveries of two 
kinds, which we shall deal with as we proceed. In Great 
Britain, and in Germany, various examples of the pre- 
historic " dug-out " have been unearthed. The Museums of 
Edinburgh, York, Bremen, and Kiel, happily contain these 
interesting craft, preserved for the wonder of future genera- 
tions. The second class is more valuable still, and far 
more picturesque, for thanks to the burial customs of the 
old sea-chiefs, there have been excavated from certain 
mounds in Norway, wonderful old Viking ships in a state 
of preservation that is remarkable when we consider how 
many centuries they have lain under the earth. There- 
fore, fortunate as we deemed ourselves in being able 
to have such sources of information as models and repro- 
ductions of the ships of Southern Europe, we are far more 
happy in our present section for we can go to the fountain 
head direct — the ships themselves. 

To us members of the Anglo-Saxon race, the importance 
of the forces at work during the period we are about to 
consider cannot be lightly estimated. The influence of 
the Viking, or double-ended type of ship, dominated the 
whole of the coast-line from Norway to the land as far 
south as the northern shores of Spain, right from the 
period that followed the construction of mere dug-outs, 
until almost the close of the fifteenth century of our era. 
That is to say, as soon as ever the North European became 
sufficiently civilised to build rather than to hew his craft : 
as soon as he undertook the making of ships rather than 
of boats — he came under the power of that naval archi- 
tecture, which we see illustrated in the ships of the Veneti 
and Scandinavians ; and, irrespective of geographical 
position, of language, of tribe or of nation, the civilised 
mhabitants living on that vast stretch of littorah from the 
North Cape to the southern boundary of the Bay of 


T^iscav continued in the same conventions of design and 

bSori^^ .^V^'f..''"'^^ E 

fV^ Ix^^^I^X.^ knowledge in ship-buildmg and ship- 

desif^ng P^^^^^ thfse early f /th-ner. tf. ^ 

SmEfr V even to this day ^hat mflue^^^^^^^^^^^ 
disappearing, shows a strong tendency to mcrease, at any 
ft^Frffvlp architecture of yachts and fishing boats. Thus, 

^''l^^^olf^^ro. occurs at this point as to what, 

if «nv is the Connection between the Mediterranean galley 
if any, IS the connecuou ^^ ^^^^ 

*llS« wIG £f *. W li - collect the foU0"i^ 

nt vessels— lone, narrow, flat-bottomed ; then the arrange 
Infof the lafge squaresail with its braces and rigging ; 
Srmode of stferinl at the side ; the Pavisado ^Jj^^ ran 
round the ship to protect the men from the enemy , lue 
snufwith which they rammed the enemy's ships ; the 
Se th^ went round\he ship to prevent damage caused 
bv r^nming ; the ornamentation of the head of the vessel . 
thei?^^ methods of naval warfare, and fin^Hy. their 
adoDtion later of fore-castles and stern-castles-what else 
fX:i Parities show but that there existed a comrnon 

influence? With such evidence ^'^f^'^^ V^ *J J.^^ X 
somewhat difficult to flnd agreement with those who 
contend that between the two classes of ^h^^ there is no 

comiection whatever, except ^V^*^ ,?;%fvl"'^ ™ ^1^^^ 
brought about. I am not denying that there ^re imporunt 
diftefences between the ships of the two seas, butj contend 
that such important resemblances to each other neea an 

It; Inlorm'ore scientific than can ^.^<^:^^:\^^:if^Z 
But assuming that we are right in our surmise, oy 






what means were these early Norwegians affected by 
the southern design ? Were they influenced by Roman 
civihsation? That they certainly were not Then the 
^utherners came to them ? * Here is our contention. 
1 hough we have no actual proof, it seems justifiable to 
suppose that those great travellers and sea-folk, the 
Ihoenicians, who, we have seen, were unsurpassed in 
their time for seamanship and shipbuilding; who have 
been said to have voyaged to the setting sun as far as 
Araenca, and to have crossed the Bay of Biscay to Ireland 
and Cornwall, might have taken advantage of the pre- 
vaihng westerly wind which blows across our land and 
have held on until they had touched the shores of 
1 T^!i^ P"* Norway. But why should they, do you 
ask ? We have seen that the Phoenicians were not merely 
great sailormen, not merely adventurous, not merely eager 
explorers, but practical business-men, merchants, traders. 
If they had found ore in Cornwall, would they not have 
been inclined to seek other lands for what they could 
barter or wrest ere returning to their own homes ? Even 
supposing the Phoenicians never crossed to South America 
we know that they circumnavigated Africa. A land that 
bred seamen of that daring and ability would not be 
laekmg in the kind of men to discover Norway. 

.u ^u^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^'* another reason, it seems to me, why 
the Phoenicians might have felt tempted to go eastward 
alter Cornwall. Ignorant as they were of the world's 
geography, might they not have thought that, just as by 

th.r/'^*'''! "%*..?''' .^/T^^^'^*^^"'" '^y^ ^" ^^^i"»> i" his account of 
til P^^l^, C^^ Viking Age," vol. i. p. 4, London, 1889) "was 
peculiar to itself, having nothing in common with the Roman world, 

nnZl 7r "^""^^Jui ""^ ^^^'^ P^^'P^^ *^" ^^^y ^^S^'^ *« frequent the 
coasts of her North Sea provinces, in the dajs of Tacitus, and after his 

time, the Mediterranean The manly civilisation the Northmen 

possessed was their own it seems to have advanced north from 

tr li[ H^'^r.f the Black Sea, and . . . many northern customs 
were like those of the ancient Greeks." 



saiHng round always to the starboard they had encircled 
Africa, so having performed roughly a semi-circle from the 
Mediterranean to the English Channel, if they kept their 
course over the wilderness of sea in front of them, they 
would ultimately find that Europe, like Africa, was an 
island, too, and that the nearer they approached the rising 
of the sun the sooner would they see their homes again ? 

And if we are told to explain the differences between, 
on the one hand, the ships of the Phcenicians or their later 
descendants the Greeks and Romans, and on the other, 
those of the Vikings, it is but natural that, given a general 
design which has originated in the smoother waters of the 
Mediterranean, it must necessarily be somewhat modified 
for the nasty seas of the Baltic and German Ocean, where 
sudden changes of wind are but the harbingers of the 
rapid approach of bad weather. Caesar, when he came 
north into Brittany, was struck, in comparing the ships of 
the Veneti with his own, by the superior seaworthiness of 
the former, and adds significantly that " considering the 
nature of the place and the violence of the storms, they 
were more suitable and better adapted." * There is to-day 
a far greater difference in England between the sailing 
ships of one port and another than there was between the 
old Viking vessels and those of the Phoenicians. If you 
cruise round from one coast of Great Britain to another, 
you will find in the Scotch fishing craft, the Yorkshire 
cobble, the Yarmouth fishing smack, the Lowestoft 
"drifter," the Thames "bawley," the Deal galley, the 
Itchen Ferry transom-sterned cutters, the Brixham 
"Mumble-Bees," the Falmouth Quay-punt, the Bristol 
Channel pilot, and the Manx lugger, a wonderful com- 
plexity of designs and rigs, but the reason is always that 
that particular design and rig have been found to be the 
most suitable adaptation for each particular coast. 

• Ceesar, "De Bello Gallico," iii. chap. 13: ''Pro loci natura, pro vi 
tempestatum, illis essent aptiora et accommodatoria." 



7Jl ■ 




So it was with the Vikings. They modified the 
Phoenician design to their local requirements, without, 
nevertheless, neglecting those features essential to a good 
ship. After they had been shipbuilders for some time 
they would rapidly learn for themselves the values of 
length and beam, of draught and sweet lines, of straight 
keel, with high stem to breast a wave, and high stem to 
repel a following sea. Double-ended as they were, there 
was a reason for this essential difference from the 
Phoenicians. Such seas as they had in the North would 
not suffer their ships to be beached always in fine 
weather. So in order that they could be brought to land 
with either end on, and in order, too, that in sea-fights 
they might easily manoeuvre astern or ahead, the Viking 
ships were built with a bow both forward and aft. 

But long before ever the Phoenician ships came to the 
shores of Northern Europe there were boats and sailing- 
ships. No doubt the pre-historic man in the north was 
driven to finding some means of transportation across the 
^ord by the same stern mother Necessity that first induced 
that primitive whom we saw learning his elementary 
seamanship on the Tigris or Euphrates. That ancient 
Northener of the Stone Age made a wonderfully historic 
discovery when he found that be could make an edge to 
his stone, and that thereby he was able to cut both flesh 
and wood. "For," says Mr. Eirikr Magnusson in his 
interesting essay,* " on the edge, ever since its discovery, 
has depended and probably will depend to the end of time 
the whole artistic and artificial environment of human 
existence, in all its infinitely varied complexity. • . . By 
this discovery was broken down a wall that for untold ages 
had dammed up a stagnant, unprogressive past, and 
through the breach were let loose all the potentialities of 

• '• Notes on Shipbuilding and Nautical Terms of Old in the North," 
a paper read before the Viking Society for Northern Research by 
Eirikr Magnusson. London^ 1906. 



the future civilisation of mankind. It was entirely due to 
the discovery of the edge that man was enabled, in the 
course of time, to invent the art of shipbuilding." 

The monoxylon — the boat made from one piece of 
timber — as fashioned by the early sailorman of the Stone 
Age, is even still used in parts of Sweden and Norway. 
Indeed it still bears the name which is the equivalent of 
" oakie," showing that it was originally made out of the 
oaktrunk, which is the thickest and therefore the most 
suitable trunk to be found in the forests of the North Sea 
coast, a region, that in the time of the Stone Age was 
densely wooded with oak trees. Afterwards, this 
monoxylon or dug-out, in order that she may be made so 
strong as to carry as many as forty men, is strengthened 
with ribs, and the flat bottom has the modification of a 
keel added. The vessel that was found at Brigg in 
Lincolnshire in May 1886 (see Fig. 25) is of this kind. A 
similar kind of boat was found in the Valdermoor marsh 
in Schleswig-Holstein during the year 1878, and is now in 
the Kiel Museum. As there are other similar boats in 
existence, perhaps it may interest the reader if we deal 
with these discoveries a little more fully. 

The Valdermoor boat has the following dimensions : \ 
length 41 feet, greatest width 4.33 feet, depth inside 
19 inches, depth outside 20^ inches. The thickness of the 
wood is \\ inches at the bottom and \\ at the top. The 
boat had eleven ribs, of which nine now exist. On the ! 
gunwale between the ribs, eleven holes were made for in- | 
serting oars. Both the stem and stern are sharp. The keel, 
6J feet in length, is worked out of the wood at both ends 
of the boat, leaving the middle flat. I am sorry not to be 
able to present an illustration of this before the reader, but 
the director of the Kiel Museum informs me that the boat 
is in such a position as to prevent it being photographed. 

However, the Brigg boat is very similar to the Valder- 
moor and may serve the purposes of illustration equally 



I , 

well. This craft was found by workmen excavating for a 
new gasometer upon the banks of the river Ancholme, in 
North Lincolnshire. It had been resting apparently on 
the clay bottom of the sloping beach of an old lagoon. It 
was obviously made out of the trunk of a tree, and 
perfectly straight, its dimensions being : 48 feet 6 inches, 
long, about 6 feet wide, 2 feet 9 inches deep. The stern 
represents the butt end of a tree with diameter of 5 feet 
8 mches. The cubic contents of the boat would be about 
700 cubic feet. The prow is rounded off as if intended for 
a ram, and a cavity in the head of the prow appears to 
have been intended for a bowsprit, whereby the forestay 
could be made fast. In fact, a piece of crooked oak 
suitable for this purpose was found adjacent to the prow. 
Whilst the bottom of this dug-out is flat, the sides are 
perpendicular and there is a kind of overhanging counter 

at the stern. 

The boat was formerly in the possession of Mr. V. Caiy- 
Elwes, F.S.A.,* to whom I have to express my thanks 
for his courtesy in supplying me with some information 
regarding the boat here reproduced. The ship was offered 
by this gentleman to the British Museum, but was declined 
as being too big. It therefore remains in a small provincial 
town difficult of access and for the most part unknovra. It 
would be impossible to remove the craft now, without risk 
of total destruction, but is it not a little humiliating that 
continental and provincial museums should see fit to harbour 
similar relics as this Brigg boat, while our great national 
store-house refuses a gift of such importance ? I make no 
apology to the reader for giving in detail the result of this 
Brigg discovery, for it is one of the finest if not the most 
instructive of any craft of this kind that has come to light 
in Northern Europe. An interesting account has been 
written by the Rev. D. Cary-Elwes, son of the above, 

♦ It WAS presented to the Hull Museum while this book was in tlie 
press, June 1909. 









well. This craft was found by workmen excavating for a 
new gasometer upon the banks of the river Ancholme, in 
North Lincolnshire. It had been resting apparently on 
the clay bottom of the sloping beach of an old lagoon. It 
was obviously made out of the trunk of a tree, and 
perfectly straight, its dimensions being : 48 feet 6 inches, 
long, about 6 feet wide, 2 feet 9 inches deep. The stern 
represents the butt end of a tree with diameter of 5 feet 
8 inches. The cubic contents of the boat would be about 
700 cubic feet. The prow is rounded off as if intended for 
a ram, and a cavity in the head of the prow appears to 
have been intended for a bowsprit, whereby the forestay 
could be made fast. In fact, a piece of crooked oak 
suitable for this purpose was found adjacent to the prow. 
Whilst the bottom of this dug-out is flat, the sides are 
perpendicular and there is a kind of overhanging counter 

at the stern. 

The boat was formerly in the possession of Mr. V. Caiy- 
Elwes, F.S.A.,* to whom I have to express my thanks 
for his courtesy in supplying me with some information 
regarding the boat here reproduced. The ship was offered 
by this gentleman to the British Museum, but was declined 
as being too big. It therefore remains in a small provincial 
town difficult of access and for the most part unknown. It 
would be impossible to remove the craft now, without risk 
of total destruction, but is it not a little humiliating that 
continental and provincial museums should see fit to harbour 
similar relics as this Brigg boat, while our great national 
store-house refuses a gift of such importance ? I make no 
apology to the reader for giving in detail the result of this 
Ih-igg discovery, for it is one of the finest if not the most 
instructive of any craft of this kind that has come to light 
in Northern Europe. An interesting account has been 
written by the Rev. D. Cary-Elwes, son of the above, 

* It was presented to tlie Hull Museum while tliis book was in the 
press, June 19<^9. 










and to this I am indebted for some of the following 

The boat is hollowed out of one huge oak log, which, 
from the dimensions given above, would necessitate a tree 
18 feet in circumference, and of such a height that 
the branches did not begin until 50 feet from the ground. 
Such a tree would be gigantic. The bows are almost a 
semi-circle when viewed from above, and are rounded oft 
gradually to the bottom and sides, the latter bemg about 
two inches thick and the bottom four inches. The stern, 
however, is no less than sixteen inches. The transom has 
had to be fixed separately on to the trunk, and the 
difficulty was to perform such a piece of ship-building so 
as to make this part of the vessel as strong and watertight 
as the sides and bottom. The caulking of the joints has 
been done with moss, the transom fitting into a groove 
across the floor. In order that the sides of the ship might 
not give, in bad weather, Mr. Cary-Elwes thinks, a tight 
lashing was thrown across from one side to the other, 
coming round abaft of the stern, and so keeping both sides 
and transom tightly together. This transom was found a 
little distance away from the boat and is 4 feet wide at 
the top and 2 feet 5f inches deep, there being a projec- 
tion some 2 feet aft, beyond the transom, so as to form an 
overhanging counter. 

Along the whole length of the boat, close to the 
upper edge, holes, 2 inches in diameter, have been 
pierced at irregular intervals of about 2 feet. It is 
uncertain what these were intended for. Although 
there are no such evidences as a step for the mast, to 
indicate whether she was a sailing boat, it is not safe to 
condemn her as having merely been propelled by paddles. 
There are evidences of decks and seats, and the primitive 
man would, no doubt, after he had learned to harness the 


A Prehistoric Boat," a lecture by Rev. D. Cary-Elwes. North- 
ampton, J 903. 

O 97 



wind, maintain his mast in position perhaps by thongs to 
the seat or by means of the decking. It has even been 
thought that the fragment of rounded wood found with 
the boat and already alluded to as a probable bowsprit, 
was a mast. To me this latter supposition seems more 
likely than the theory of a bowsprit. It has also been 
surmised that the holes running along the boat were 
either for lacing to keep the ship s sides from coming 
asunder or for receptacles of pegs to hold washboards in 
bad weather. Personally, I think the latter is the more 
probable, for it was a very early custom. We have, in a 
former chapter, mentioned it as being a practice on the 
Mediterranean in classical times, and we shall see presently 
that the Vikings also used this method for keeping out 
the spray. It happens also to be the custom among 
modern savages. 

Evidently during her career of activity this vessel had 
the misfortune to spring a leak, for she has been patched, 
and the work of the boatbuilder is most interesting to us 
of to-day. On the starboard bilge a rift of 12 feet 
long has been made. To repair this, wooden patches and 
moss have been used. The biggest patch is 5 feet 8 inches 
long and 6^ inches wide in the middle, tapering gradually 
to a point at either end, and is of oak. The patch was let 
into the rift from the outside until perfectly flush with 
the outer part of the boat. On the inner side of the 
patch, three cleats a foot long and four inches deep, with a 
hole in the centre of each, have been attached. Wooden 
pins were passed through these holes, so that pressing 
firmly against the soUd wood on either side of the rift, 
they kept the repair in position. Besides this, holes three- 
eighths of an inch in diameter were made along the outer 
edges of the patch, corresponding holes being also made 
in the fabric of the boat by means of which the patch 
could be sewn to the ship with thongs. This custom, it 
seems to me, would have survived in the most natural 


manner from the time when the shipbuilder sewed the 
seams of his skin boat Finally, all holes and crannies 
were caulked with moss. Mr. Cary-Elwes has carefully 
preserved a small portion of this lacing material, which 
appears to be of some animal substance, and probably 
twisted sinews. He has also taken some of this caulking 
moss from the boat and finds that it is of two kinds, both 
of which grow on sandy soils in woods, and are now 
largely used in the manufacture of moss-baskets and 
artificial flowers. 

The important fact must not be lost sight of that 
while all the repairs have been made either by wood pegs 
or thongs, not a trace of metal was found in the fabric of 
the boat. This coincides with the argument that we have 
been proceeding on, viz., that such ships as these belong 
not to the age of metals but to that of stone. And, as if 
to convince those who scoff at the possibility of being 
able to fell trees — and oak trees especially — by means of 
stone implements, Mr. Cary-Elwes refers to the interesting 
fact that the Australian aborigines, a type of humanity as 
low and primitive as one could wish to find, had all their 
tools of agriculture, war and forestry, made of stone or 
wood, iron being unknown to them; yet indeed they 
knew how to fell the giants of the forest, such a tree as 
the Jarrah red gum, now used for paving London streets, 
being every bit as hard as our oak. " Within quite 
recent times," adds the same author, " the inhabitants of 
the South Sea Islands worked exclusively with stone 
implements. I came across a good collection of these old 
time weapons in New Zealand, and what is more to the 
point here, sundry canoes and boats hollowed by their 
means. My father, who was with me, and who is a 
member of the Society of Antiquaries, and not unlearned 
in these matters, pointed out to me not only the similarity 
that existed between these stone weapons and the pre- 
historic adzes and axes of the stone age, but also the 





interesting fact that the canoes liollowed out by fire or 
stone tools were as cleanly cut and as cleverly wrought as 
the old Brigg boat." The same writer, from the evidence 
of the geological strata where she was found, concludes 
that the age of the Brigg boat must be between 2600 and 
8000 years, which would bring the date to between 1100 
and 700 b.c. 

In addition to the Brigg boat other dug-outs have been 
found in various parts of our country. In 1833 one was 
discovered near the river Arun in Sussex. Her length was 
35 feet, breadth 4 feet, depth 2 feet. Her sides and bottom 
were between 4 and 5 inches thick. There are also other 
similarities to the Brigg boat. In 1863 a smaller, but similar 
boat, 8 feet 2 inches by 1 foot 9 inches, was also unearthed. 
She had washboards like those we have attributed to the 
Brigg boat. Another craft a foot smaller still was found 
near Dumfries in 1736, containing a paddle. In 1822 
near the Rother in Kent an immense ship of this class 
measuring 63 feet long, and 5 feet broad was unearthed also. 
It is interesting to remark that it was caulked with moss 
in the manner already described. On the south bank of 
the Clyde another of these craft was found having an 
upright groove in the stern similar to that in which the 
sternboard of the Brigg boat was fixed. There is also a 
twenty-five footer in the Museum at York. 

This Brigg Boat, and the Valdermoor one, probably 
belong to the class ascribed by Tacitus * in 70 a.d. to the 
Batavians and Frisians. Some have also thought that it 
was in such boats as these that the Romans crossed from 
Gaul to Britain. At any rate there can be no doubt that 
boats of this kind were to be found at this time still 
existing in Britain and along the shore washed by the 
English Channel and North Sea. 

In addition to those dug-outs already enumerated, 
a similar craft was found m 1876 in Loch Arthur, about 


• Tacilus/'Hist." V. 23. 


six miles west of Dumfries. She is 42 feet long and like 
all the others is hollowed out of oak. Her width and 
other characteristics show her to resemble very closely 
the Brigg boat, and accentuate still more the exist- 
ence of a prevailing type of craft in Northern Europe 
during pre-historic times. The prow, like that of the 
primitive Koryaks, is shaped after the head of an animal. 
Unfortunately not the whole of this relic is preserved, but 
at least one third of her, and that the bow end, is to 
be found in the Museum of the Antiquarian Society of 
Edinburgh. More than twenty canoes of this same class 
have also been found in the neighbourhood of Glasgow. 
Almost all were formed out of single tree-trunks of oak 
and afford evidence of having been hollowed out by blunt 
tools such as the people of the Stone or Bronze AgQ 
would possess. Two obviously later boats were dug up 
in 1853 and were found to be of more elaborate construc- 
tion, planks having now been introduced. The prow 
resembled the beak of an ancient galley, the stern being 
formed of a triangular piece of oak. For fastening the 
planks to the ribs oak pins and metallic nails had been 
used. For caulking, wool dipped in tar had been 
employed. Boehmer in his exceedingly valuable and 
careful paper on " Prehistoric Naval Architecture of the 
North of Europe," * to which I am greatly indebted for 
some important facts, points out that in the bottom of one 
of these canoes a hole had been closed by means of a 
cork-plug, which Professor Geikie remarks could only 
have come from the latitudes of Spain, Southern France, 
or Italy. The inference is, of course, that notwithstanding 
their island home, even the very early inhabitants of Great 
Britain were in communication with distant parts of the 

• " Annual Report of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution : Pre- 
historic Naval Architecture of the North of Europe," by George H, 
Boehmer. Washington, 1892. (See p. 527.) 




There can be no doubt that, at any rate among the 
least progressive peoples of Northern Europe, this dug- 
out, monoxylon type of boat lasted till very late, for an 
account is given by Velleius Paterculus, who about the 
year 5 a.d. served under Tiberius as prefect of cavalry. 
He distinctly refers to the Germanic craft as dug-outs, 
'•cavatum, ut illis mos est, ex materia." Pliny the elder 
speaks of the piratical ships of the Chauci, one of the most 
progressive of the coast tribes of Northern Europe, as 
having visited the rich provinces of Gallia. These ships 
were dug-outs and carried thirty men. This fact is inter- 
esting, as being the first time the Teutons had ventured 
on the open sea. 

During the years 1885 to 1889, while excavations were 
being made at the port of Bremen at the mouth of the 
Weser, as many as seven of these dug-outs were found in 
the alluvial land at depths of from 6|^ feet to 13 feet below 
the present level of the surface. They were made of oak- 
trunks, and had apparently been fashioned by axes. They 
were as usual flat-bottomed, without keels, but with prow 
cut obliquely and with holes for the insertion of oars. Of 
the seven four were entirely demolished, but of the re- 
maining three the dimensions were respectively : 35 feet 
long by 2 feet 6 inches wide ; 33 feet 4 inches long by 
3 feet 6 inches ; 26 feet 7 inches by 3 feet 3 inches. The 
height varied from 1 foot 5 inches up to 2 feet 2 inches. 
Several specimens of this type are preserved in the 
municipal museum of Bremen. 

So much, then, for the earliest type of craft. We have 
seen that the dug-out in the course of time became strength- 
ened with ribs. The next stage in the advancement of 
the pre-historic shipbuilder is to dispense with the strenuous 
work which necessitated the hollowing out of a whole tree 
trunk of hard oak. The affixing of ribs has given him an 
idea. So, utilising the hides of the wild animals which 
he has shot whilst hunting, he stretches these over the 


same framework that he had used for strengthening his 
oak-trunk. He is still in the Stone Age, so nails are not 
vet invented. The skins have to be sewn together to ht 
the framework, and the result is precisely that of the 
coracle even now used in Wales and off* Connemara, It 
the reader should happen never to have seen one of these, 
a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum wiU quickly 
clear up any misunderstanding. Though we have no 
actual specimens of ancient skin-ships existmg— and mdeed 
we should not expect such a relic— yet the mteresting 
survival of the boat-building language of that primitive 
time is found both in the Norwegian and Enghsh language 
of to-day. Thus, when you have allowed a ship to lie 
high and dry in the summer sun so that the planking 
warps and dayhght can be seen through, what is the 
expression you would use to express this ? Would you 
not remark that she has opened her searns 1 Now " seam 
is an Anglo-Saxon word connoting the joining toge^er 
of two edges of some texture by means of a needle. But 
let us take a further instance. Do you not constantly 
hear shipbuilders and designers refer to the planking that 
covers a ship's ribs as her sUn^ Thus we have still in 
common use the very words which our sires employed m 
reference to the sewn hides of theu- primitive craft Indeed, 
when one considers that all through history, even until 
now, shipbuilding has been an industry apart from ordmary 
occupations, and that both ships and seamen are, as we 
said in our introductory chapter, the most conservative ot 
all peoples or created things, this survival is not so un- 
natural as might seem at first. We could contmue to 
give other examples in the pertinacity of ancient seafaring 
expressions, but that would only be to digress from the 
immediate subject before us. We need only make reter- 
ence to the interesting fact that Caesar dunng his tirst 
Spanish campaign in the civil war, when he requu^ 
some boats at the banks of the river Sicons to get across, 




ordered the soldiers to make boats of the build that they 
had learned in former years from the British use. Thus 
first the keel was obtained and ribs were fashioned 
of light stuff; the rest of the boat's body being then 
woven together of osiers and finally covered with hides * 
According to Pliny the Britanni also in the first century 
of our era put to sea in wicker vessels done round with a 
covenng of ox hide. In such vessels they would take a 
six days' voyage to the Island of JVIictis, whence the tin 

We come now to the Bronze and Iron Ages. With 
the advent of metals we find a revolution scarcely inferior 
to that caused by the discovery of the edged stone. For 
whereas the latter could cut, yet its efforts were confined 
within narrow limitations. It was capable of felling a tree 
and of hollowing out its trunk with the expenditure of 
considerable labour and tediousness, yet that was its 
highest achievement in the department of shipbuilding. 
But now that the introduction of metals, of iron and 
bronze, is made, the primitive man finds that his sphere of 
energy is vastly widened. Instead of hollowing out the 
tree he cuts it up into planks. Instead of having to sew 
the outside together with thongs of hide, he has metallic 
nails as fastenings. To the same kind of ribs that framed 
his skm-boat, he can now nail down planks of oak and fir. 
He has a lighter and more easily propelled boat than the 
dug-out, and a stronger and more seaworthy ship than 
that made of stretched skins, although it is only fair to 
observe that the hide-boat was capable of far more than 
one would suppose. Mr. Jochelson in the account of the 
Jesup Expedition ah-eady referred to, relates his experience 
ot being taken for a sail in one of the skin-boats of the 

• Caesar, "De Bello Civili," book i. chap. 54: " Imperat militibus 
Caesar, ut naves faciant, cujus generis eum superioribus annis usus 
Bntanniae docuerat. Carinae primum ac statumina ex levi materia fiebant : 
reiiquum corpus navium viminibus contextum, coriis integebatur." 


Koryak. He was delighted by the endurance which the 
skins (of seal) exhibited. Not the least remarkable 
feature was the fact that the skin was capable of sustaining 
enormous weights without bursting. But in Europe our 
ancestors must have been glad to be able to discard the 
hide for that of wood, since the wear and tear in beaching 
on rock, pebble, or snag, exposed them to instant use- 

Although ship-building proper comes with the Metallic 
Age, we must not assume that the change was made 
universally or at once. The transition would be made 
rapidly or but slowly in proportion as the tribe or nation 
were enthusiastically maritime or otherwise. In some 
parts of Europe the skin-boat or even the dug-out would 
be in use, while other shores were seeing built vessels of 
planks and ribs. The first historic account that we possess 
of these more modern vessels is to be found in Caesar s 
account of the Naval Campaign against the Veneti in the 
year 54 B.C. From this narrative we learn that the ships 
of the Veneti were somewhat flatter than those of the 
Romans, so that they could more easily encounter the 
shallows and ebbing of the tide.* The prows, we are told, 
were raised very high, and the stems likewise — "proras 

• Caesar, "De Bello Gallico/' III. xiii. : "Namque ipsorum naves ad 
hunc modum factae armataeque erant: carinae aliquanto planiores quam 
nostrarum navium, quo facilius vada ac decessum aestus excipere possent : 
prorae admodum erectae atque item puppes ad raagnitudinem Huctuum 
tempestatumque accoramodatae ; naves totae factae ex robore ad quamvis 
vim et contumeliam perferendam : transtra pedalibus in altitudinem 
trabibus confixa clavis ferreis digiti pollicis crassitudine ; ancorae pro 
funibus ferreis catenis revinctae ; pelles pro velis alutaeque tenuiter 
confectae, [haec] sive propter lini inopiam atque ejus usus inscientiam, 
sive eo, quod est magis verisimile, quod tantas tempestates Oceani 
tantosque impetus ventorum sustineri ac tanta onera navium regi velis 
Hon satis commode posse arbitrabantur." 

Mr. St. George Stock in his edition (Caesar, "De Bello Gallico,*' 
books i.-vii., edited by St. George Stock, Oxford, 1898) understands 


" transtra " not to mean the rowing benches but crossbeams or decks. 



admodum erectae atque item puppes " — so that they were 
suited for the force of the waves and storms which they 
had been constructed to sustain. We have, then, here 
a new design in naval architecture recorded — the Viking 
type of ship — although it had been in existence for a 
considerable time in the North. The high prows and 
sterns would immediately impress those who had come 
from the more peaceful waters of Italy. Further it is 
said that these ships were built of oak throughout and 
designed to be enormously strong. The crossbeams, 
made of logs a foot thick, were fastened by iron spikes 
as thick as a man's thumb. The anchors were made fast 
by iron chains instead of cables, while their sails were 
made of skin and dressed leather. These were used 
because they lacked canvas or the knowledge to apply it 
to such a use, or more probably because they thought 
canvas would be of too little strength to endure the 
tempests of the ocean and violent gales of wind, and that 
ships of such great burden could not be managed by them. 
Perhaps in the use of hides for sails, we have the parent of 
the practice of using tanned sails so common in our 
fishing fleet and barges. The relative character of the 
two kinds of ships Caesar points out, as we mentioned 
earlier in the chapter, was that the Roman fleet excelled in 
speed alone and in oarsmanship. Otherwise the ships of 
the Veneti were, considering the nature of the place, and 
the violence of the storms more suitable and better 
adapted on their side. Nor could the Roman ships injure 
severely the ships of the Veneti by means of their beaks, 
so strong were they. And further, so high were these 
ships that the Romans found great difficulty in hurling 
weapons at them. Whenever a storm arose and the ships 
of the Veneti ran before the wind, they could weather it 
more readily and heave-to safely in the shallows, and 
when left by the tide feared nothing from rocks and 
shelves, for — "the risk of all such things,** ends the 


account pathetically, " was much to be dreaded by our 

ships/' 1.1 

Those who are familiar with the terrible tides and 
treacherous coast of northern France * will readily under- 
stand how such able Viking-like ships as the Veneti 
possessed, appealed to the Romans with their fast but un- 
suitable craft. The difference would be that between the 
smart Thames skiff and the tubby though seaworthy 
dinghy of a North Sea fishing smack. For we know 
pretty accurately now, thanks to the Althiburus mosaics 
referred to in the previous chapter, just what Caesar's craft 
were like. Hitherto we have known them as naves 
aduarice—thsit is, light vessels of surpassing speed. But 
if the reader will refer back to Fig. 24 he will find that 
the navis actuaria, whilst propelled both with oars and 
sail, was nevertheless not much of a ship to be caught in 
off the rocks and narrow channels in a breeze of wind. 
Although these actuarios were neither freight ships 
(onerarice) nor war-vessels properly speaking, yet they still 
possessed rams and were used on this expedition for a 
war-like purpose. There cannot be much doubt that the 

• The Veneti lived in the extreme north-west comer of France, and 
have left behind the name of the town Vannes, facing the Bay of Biscay, 
and opposite Belle Isle. 

The Greeks and Romans having learned their seamanship on the 
practically tideless waters of the Mediterranean must have been appalled 
by the ebb and flow of the Northern Seas. Caesar was ignorant of the 
moon's relation to tides until taught by bitter experience. He was 
taught only by the damage done to his ships in Britain. (" De Bello 
Gallico," iv. 29). The Veneti, however, understood all these things, for 
Caesar remarks, "quod et naves habent Veneti plurimas, quibus in 
Britanniam navigare consuerunt, et scientia atque usu nauticarum rerum 
reliquos antecedunt." Further on he refers to the Bay of Biscay as the 
great, boisterous, open sea, " in magno impetu maris atque aperto.'* (" De 
Bello Gallico," book iii. chap. 8). It is to Pytheas (referred to pre- 
viously) that Plutarch gives the credit of having detected the influence 
of the moon on tides. 

The reader wishing to pursue the subject is referred to "Caesar's 
Conquest of Gaul," by T. Rice Holmes. London, 1899. 





Veneti had obtained their design and ideas of shipbuilding 
from the Norsemen who relentlessly swept down from 
their colder cUmes and plundered and pillaged from one 
end of the coast of Northern Europe to the other. As we 
shall see presently, this design was prevalent for many 
years before Cgesar came, and as we shall also see from the 
following chapter it had altered but Httle at the time when 
William the Conqueror left the French shores for England 
in the eleventh century. 

In the year 15 a.d. we learn from Tacitus* that 
Germanicus had built near the mouth of the river Rhine 
a thousand ships with sharp bows so as to be able to resist 
better the waves. Some had flat bottoms to enable them 
to take the ground with impunity. Some had a steering 
apparatus at both bow and stern in order that thereby they 
could be rowed in either direction. Many were decked 
for the accommodation of throwing machines. They 
were equally useful as rowing and sailing ships, and just 
as in the mediaeval times ships were built with towering 
decks for '* majesty and terror of the enemy," so as early 
as this period these vessels were imposing as to their size 
whilst inspiring confidence to their own soldiery. Good 
serviceable ships as they were, yet after defeating the 
Cherusci at the mouth of the Ems they were shipwrecked 
in a storm although the wind blew from the south. It is 
only fair to add, however, that the ancients, especially the 

• Tacitus' '^ Annals," ii. 23 and 6. "Mille naves snfficere visae pro- 
perataeque, aliae breves, angusta puppi proraque et lato utero, quo facilius 
fluctus tolerarent, qusedam planae carinis ut sine noxa siderent : plures 
adpositis utrimque gubernaculis, converse ut repente remigio hinc vel 
illinc adpellerent : multae pontibus stratae, super quas tormenta veherentur 
. . . velis habiles, citae remis augebantur alacritate militum in speciem ac 
terrorem " (ii. 6). 

Mr. Henry Fumeaux in his edition of the "Annals" (Oxford 1896), 
commenting on « pontibus," thinks these formed a partial deck across the 
midships which would have the appearance of a bridge when viewed 
from bow or stern, 



Romans, were wont to build their vessels very quickly * and 
consequently they erred,, no doubt, in constructing them too 
slightly. The Saxons who, after the death of Alexander 
the Great, came to the mouth of the Elbe and subjugated • 
the Thuringians, and who are said to have possessed the j 
art of tacking, already referred to, had such light vessels 
as belonged to the stone age. They were wonderfully 
light, made out of willows and covered with skins, but had 
a keel of knotty oak ; yet these daring navigators, without 
compass or chart, and with but a feeble knowledge of the 
stars, managed to find their way to the Orkneys. 

We pass now from the English Channel and the Rhine 
to consider that land which has given birth to a long 
line of robust, vigorous ships and men, who after the 
Phoenicians are the finest race of seamen that ever sailed a 
A little clumsy like their ships the Scandinavians have 


always throughout history stood for manliness and strength. 
And if we were right when we submitted that a nation's 
character exhibits itself in a most marked degree in its 
ships, surely of no people could this remark be made with 
greater truth than concerning the inhabitants of that 
Northern peninsula who, in the early days of our own 
country, harassed our forefathers beyond all endurance, 
but left behind to us the heritage of a love of the sea.t 
There is in the Viking ship and its descendants not so 
much beauty as nobility, not prettiness but power. The 
first mention of these Northerners is by Tacitus J who 

• Roman ships were sometimes built in 60 days, while there is a 
record of 220 having been built in 45 days. 

t Du Chaillu points out the interesting fact that it was not until 
after the Danes and Norwegians had succeeded in planting themselves in 
this country that the inhabitants of our land exhibited that love of the 
sea and ships which has been our greatest national characteristic for so 
many centuries. Certainly when the Romans invaded Britain our fore- 
fathers had no fleet with which to oppose them. 

X Tacitus, " De situ, moribus et populis Germaniae libellus/* chap. 44 : 
" Suionum hinc civitates, ipsas in Oceano, praeter viros armaque classibus 





refers to them as the Suiones. (Tacitus died a.d. 108.) 
As Caesar was struck by the difference between the 
Roman ships and those of the Veneti, so Tacitus remarks 
that the ships of the Suiones differ from the Romans', too. 
Although these were not saihng ships — nee velis 
ministrantur — yet they were of the same design as those 
which were fitted with mast and sail. Double-ended, they 
could easily be beached and in battle could the more 
rapidly manoeuvre ahead or astern. 

But we have much earUer information than the writings 
of the Roman chronicler. We have history written in 
stone, obvious, illustrative and imperishable. In many 
parts of the Scandinavian coast, beginning as far north 
as Trondhjem and extending right round to the isle of 
Gothland, are to be found many rock sculptures depicting 
the forms of both ships and men. A few have also been 
found in Denmark as well as on the shores of Lake Ladoga 
in Russia. These rock carvings are really history set 
forth in picture language, primitive yet intelligible. In 
spite of all the hundreds of years that have rolled by, and 
the winds and rains that have dashed against them, they 
are still quite decipherable. Professor Gustafson in his 
book on Norwegian antiquities * gives several interesting 
pictures of these rock-carvings, and I am able here to 
reproduce one for the reader who will no doubt agree 
that the evidence here afforded is exceptionally striking. 
Fig. 26 shows the Viking-like ship beyond all doubt. 
Frequently these carvings are represented in groups 
and it has been thought that they record naval battles 
fought in the vicinity, the several representations of ships 
denotmg fleets. The human figures perhaps are there 

valent. Forma navium eo differt quod utrinque prora paratam semper 
appulsui frontem agit : nee velis ministrantur, nee remos in ordinem 
lateribus adjungunt: solutum, ut in quibusdam fluminum, et mutabile, 
ut res poscit, hinc vel illinc remigium." 

• « Norges Oldtid," by Gabriel Gustafson. Kristiania, I906, 



as an eternal memorial of their admirals who perished or 
distinguished themselves in the fight. There are two 
kinds of craft in these carvings, Magnusson* points 
out First there is the ship with the very high stem, and 
stern, and there is the other kind of vessel which lacks 

<^iJ Q ^ 






Fig. 26. Ancient Scandinavian Rock-carving, showing 

Viking Ship-forms, 

just these features. The former appears to have a double 
keel which makes it look as if the ship were put on a 
sledge. There is at the bow-end a structure which is 
most probably a ram. As to the sledge-like formation 
below the body of the ship, I am inclined to think it may 
have been a removable keel to be attached to the ship when 
sailing and so give her flat-bottomed hull greater stabiUty. 
In an old-fashioned part of the world, which is not so very 
far removed from Norway and which was in earlier times 
over-run by the Norsemen, in whose inhabitants to-day 
the flaxen hair and blue eyes and the Norwegian name 
are still to be found — in the counties of Norfolk and 

- • " Notes on Shipbuilding and Nautical Terms of Old in the North," 
by Eirikr Magnusson. A paper read before the Viking Club for Northern 
Research. London, 1906. 




Suffolk— the trading wherries have just such an arrange- 
ment as this. When they have a full cargo on board and 
come to a shallow part of the river, they unhook the whole 
length of keel which is attached to bow and stern by an 
iron band, and leave it on the bank until they return 
down stream. Until quite recently not much change 
has taken place in the craft of this neighbourhhood for 
ages, and it is quite possible that this double-ended 
wherry was as much swayed by Norwegian as by Dutch 

On some of these carvings a mast amidships is shown 
and their date belongs either to the Stone or the Bronze 
Age, though more probably the latter. Professor Montelius 
discourages the idea that the Phoenicians established them- 
selves on the Baltic for the reason that the bronze culture 
found its way up to the North overland from the shores of 
the Mediterranean and especially the Adriatic. But in 
spite of this argument these sculptured forms show many 
pomts of resemblance to those of the Phoenicians' ships as 
the reader will not fail to notice. Many northern archaeo- 
logists think that these sculptures have been wrought 
by the hands of foreigners, and Mr. JVIagnusson suggests 
that in that case they may have been the work of the 
Veneti. Be that as it may, and let it be disputed whether 
they belong to the year 1500 b.c. or as late as 50 B.C., 
whether they were carved by the Vikings or the enemies of 
the Vikings, there they are still to be seen, admittedly of 
great antiquity and corresponding to the description of the 
ships of the Suiones as given by Tacitus. 

But long before this latter date the Suiones must have 
been afloat. They could not suddenly have become 
owners of a mighty fieet—classibus valent. The very 
prefix " Nor " which is so common in this region— in the 
words " Norge," " Nordheimsund," « Norse," to give but 
the first instances that come to one's mind — signifies ship. 
It is the same stem that is found in the Greek mv^ and 

-: i?< 







Suffolk — the trading wherries have just such an arranc^e. 
ment as this. When they have a full cargo on board aTid 
come to a shallow part of the river, they unhook the whole 
length of keel which is attached to bow and stern by an 
iron band, and leave it on the bank until they return 
down stream. Until quite recently not much change 
has taken place in the craft of this neighbourhhood for 
ages, and it is quite possible that this double-ended 
wherry was as much swayed by Norwegian as by Dutch 

On some of these carvings a mast amidships is shown 
and their date belongs either to the Stone or the Bronze 
Age, though more probably the latter. Professor JMontelius 
discourages the idea that the Phoenicians estabhshed them- 
selves on the Baltic for the reason that the bronze culture 
found its way up to the North overland from the shores of 
the Mediterranean and especially the Adriatic. But in 
spite of this argument these sculptured forms show many 
points of resemblance to those of the Phcenicians' ships as 
the reader will not fail to notice. Many northern archaeo- 
logists think that these sculptures have been wrought 
by the hands of foreigners, and JNlr. JNIagnusson suggests 
that in that case they may have been the work of the 
Veneti. Be that as it may, and let it be disputed whether 
they belong to the year 1500 b.c. or as late as 50 B.C., 
whether they were carved by the \^ikings or the enemies of 
the Vikings, there they are still to be seen, admittedly of 
great antiquity and corresponding to the description of the 
ships of the Suiones as given by Tacitus. 

But long before this latter date the Suiones must have 
been afloat. They could not suddenly have become 
owners of a mighty iieet—classibus valeiit. The very 
prefix " Nor " which is so common in this region— in the 
words ** Norge," '' Nordheimsund," " Norse," to give but 
tlie first instances that come to one's mind— signifies ship. 
It is the same stem that is found in the Greek i>av<i and 


H 03 

S r-l 





the Latin navis. In the Irish language noe also means 
ship and is found in the oldest tractates of the ancient laws 
of Ireland. We have already mentioned the important 
fact that Pytheas of Marseilles led an expedition in the 
fourth century B.C. by sea to Norway in the interests of 
the commercial community of Marseilles. This rather 
goes to show that the Gauls and Scandinavians had met 
on trading terms before and that one or both of the parties 
had journeyed to each other's shore previously. 

We know that the Norsemen sailed in early times 
frequently along the Eastern shores of the Baltic. We 
know that they voyaged to Denmark, Jutland, Germany 
and Russia, for they have left behind them unmistakable 
relics. For just as we are indebted to the funeral customs 
of the Egyptians for so much important knowledge of 
their ships, so to the burial rites of these hardy Northerners 
we owe a great debt of thanks for information as to their 
vessels. There were three kinds of burials adopted by the 
Norsemen. First, and this is the one we wish to draw 
immediate attention to, there was the custom of cremating 
the deceased Viking. His ashes, together with his personal 
property, were buried on land in a boat-shaped grave. The 
outlines of long, narrow, pointed shapes formed by a single 
line of stones in the countries just mentioned indicate the 
ship-shape resting places of these men who were so faithful 
to their vessels, who revered them so highly for having 
carried them during their lives safely across the turbulent 
sea, that even in death they desired not to be separated 
from them. Thus on land the very design of the stones 
was after the lines of that which is the noblest and most 
beautiful of all the creations of man.* 

• Du Chaillu (" The Viking Age," vide supra) attributes these ship- 
form graves to the Iron Age, and remarks that similar monuments have 
been found in England and Scotland. " One of the most interesting," 
he adds, " is that where the rowers' seats are marked, and even a stone 
placed in the position of the mast " (p. 309, vol. i.). This is repro- 
duced in Fig. 27. 

« 113 



tlie Latin navis. In the Irish language noe also means 
ship and is found in the oldest tractates of the ancient laws 
of Ireland. We have already mentioned the important 
fact that Pytheas of Marseilles led an expedition in the 
fourth century B.C. by sea to Norway in the interests of 
the commercial community of Marseilles. This rather 
goes to show that the Gauls and Scandinavians had met 
on trading terms before and that one or both of the parties 
had journeyed to each other's shore previously. 

VVe know that the Norsemen sailed in early times 
frequently along the Eastern shores of the Baltic. We 
know that they voyaged to Denmark, Jutland, Germany 
and Russia, for they have left behind them unmistakable 
relics. For just as we are indebted to the funeral customs 
of the Egyptians for so much important knowledge of 
their ships, so to the burial rites of these hardy Northerners 
we owe a great debt of thanks for information as to their 
vessels. There were three kinds of burials adopted by the 
Norsemen. First, and this is the one we wish to draw 
immediate attention to, there was the custom of cremating 
the deceased Viking. His ashes, together with his personal 
property, were buried on land in a boat-shaped grave. The 
outlines of long, narrow, pointed shapes formed by a single 
line of stones in the countries just mentioned indicate the 
ship-shape resting places of these men who were so faithful 
to their vessels, who revered them so highly for having 
carried them during their hves safely across the turbulent 
sea, that even in death they desired not to be separated 
from them. Thus on land the very design of the stones 
was after the Hnes of that which is the noblest and most 
beautiful of all the creations of man.* 

* Du Chaillu (" The Viking Age," vide supra) attributes these ship- 
form graves to the Iron Age, and remarks that similar monuments have 
been found in England and Scotland. " One of the most interesting," 
he adds, " is that where the rowers' seats are marked, and even a stone 
placed in the position of the mast" (p. 309, vol. i.). This is repro- 
duced in Fig. 27. 

H 113 


» ■■' 



But there were two other modes of burial, each in its 
own way magnificently impressive and in keeping with 
the vigorous character of the Viking spirit. Of these two 
the first consisted in placing the body of the deceased in 
his own ship, then, setting the whole thing ablaze, the ship 


— — - —*«•*? 


o •■ » ^' 

» n i. 




© •- 

.— *» 




ft • o — . 

Fig. 27. Viking Ship-form Grave. 

and its owner were carried out to sea a red, glaring mass, 
flaming up against the dark background of the horizon. 
This kind of obsequies, magnificently as it appeals to our 
imagination with its suggestion of colour, of grandeur and 
solemnity, has been inimical to the pursuit of historical 
knowledge. But even in spite of this, remains of unburned 
ships have been found among both the outer and inner 
shores of Trondhjem Fjord.* 

But it is the third kind of burial that tells us as much 
about the Viking ship as the Brigg discovery taught us 
about the primitive dug-out. For instead of sending 
them out to sea there was also the custom of dragging 
the huge ship ashore, and placing the distinguished 
seaman s body in the bow, a sepulchral chamber (clearly 
shown in Fig. 28) of wood was erected above. Together 
with his horse, his dogs, his weapons and other belongings 
he was left to sleep in peace. Finally over the whole 
boat a huge mound was raised towering to a great height, 
and the proceedings were completed. Now, within recent 
years some of these mounds have been excavated with 

* For further details as to the Viking mode of burial, the reader is 
referred to vol. i. chap. xix. of Du Chaillu's " The Viking Age." 


results of remarkable historic value. Ever since the 
beginning of the nineteenth century the Norwegians have 
taken a real interest in their national antiquities, and 
these ancient craft have been treated with the care and 
reverence to which they have every right. But besides 
Norway these ships have been found elsewhere. Even in 
England reUcs of a Viking ship 48 feet long, 9 feet 9 inches 
wide, and 4 feet high were found near Snape in SuflTolk 
during the year 1862. Viking remains have also been dis- 
covered in the Orkneys. In 1875 an enormous specimen 
was found at Botley, a charming Uttle place up the river 
Ramble which flows out into Southampton Water 
opposite Calshot. This was probably a Danish ship and 
a relic of one of her nation's incursions against our shores, i 
She has been thought to belong to the year a.d. 871 i 
when the Danes invaded Wessex. At any rate she was 
in length 130 feet while her upright timbers measured 
14 feet 10 inches. Tlie caulking was found to be of ferns 
and moss and indeed the impression of the leaves of the 
former was still visibly outlined on the wood. The 
timber was oak as far as could be discerned, and bore 
evidences of having been burned. Nowadays there is not 
enough water at Botley to float such a ship, but at high 
tide, and allowing for the silting up of the river it would 
have been as snug a place as ever could be found along 
the south coast, after the Vikings were wearied vdth 
fighting and the buffeting of the waves. 

Of the other Viking ships discovered we shall give to 
each for convenience the name of the district where she 
was found. The Nydam ship was discovered in October, 
1863, in the Nydam Moss to the north-east of Flensburg 
in the Duchy of Schleswig. Nydam is in a dale and was 
once part of a bay of Als Sound, and in former times was 
navigable. Systematic diggings were undertaken at the 
expense of the Danish Government and afterwards the 
ship was placed in the hands of an expert restorer. She 





is as usual built of oak, her lines being very similar to the 
Scotch fishing boats that flourished on our coasts up to 
the middle of the nineteenth century, and resembling the 
boat well known as a whaler. The rudder was placed on 
the starboard about 10 feet from the stern and was about 
9J feet in length. She is sharp at both ends with high 
stem and stern posts ; 77 feet long, as much as 10 feet 10 
inches across her midships, she was clinker-built of eleven 
oak planks. The keel is an inch deep and eight inches 
thick, being broad at the middle but diminishing gradually 
toward the stempost. The planks were fastened with 
large iron nails and caulked, as was the custom, with some 
woollen stuff and pitch. She had twenty-eight oars, was 
flat-bottomed, and her date has been estimated as about 
the middle of the third century of our era. I admit she 
is not entitled to be called a sailing ship, but as she will 
be found to belong so closely to the sailing class we 
cannot afford to neglect her. With her was also found 
another similar ship but of fir and armed with a ram low 
down at each end. Remains of another boat were also 
discovered with her as well as bronze brooches, silver 
clasps, wooden boxes, bone combs, many shield boards or 
pavisses (also seen in the Gogstad ship, Fig. 28), 106 
iron swords, spear shafts and heads, 36 wooden bows, iron 
bits still in the mouths of the skeleton horse-heads, pots, 
bowls, knives, axes, clubs, and thirty-four Roman coins, 
belonging to dates between 69 and 217 a.d.* These 
composed the personal property, already alluded to, that 
was always buried with the Viking. Professor Stephens 
(see note) was of the opinion that one or more of these 
three boats had been scuttled and sunk in order to avoid 
capture by the enemy, and goes on to refer to the fact 
that in the twelfth century the Wends and Slavs 
employed the same means when pursued. Their tactics 

• See " The Old Northern Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and 
England," vol. i., by George Stephens, F.S.A., London, 1866. 



included dragging the ship ashore, scuttling her and then 
decamping and seeking shelter. 

The Tune ship was found in Norway, near the town 
of Frederikstad in the year 1865. She is of especial 
interest to us as being the first specimen of a saihng craft 
that we have from the North. She was found under 
the funeral mound that had been raised over her, and 
measured 45^ feet long ; her width is supposed to have 
been 14j feet, for not the whole of the hull was rescued. 
Her height from keel to bulwark has been estimated as 
about four feet. Clinker-built of oak, there were found 
lust abaft the mast the unburnt bones of a man and 
his horse. From internal evidence this ship has been 
thought to belong to the Iron Age, and is obviously a 
Viking ship. 

About the year 1873 the Brosen ship was found near 
Danzig. She was 57 feet long, 16 feet wide, 5 feet high 
and pointed at both ends. Her planking was Ij inches 
thick of oak and clinker-built. The caulking consisted 
of the hair of elk, bear, or some other wild animal, with 
an application of tar. The bottom was flat. In 1890 
the Gloppen ship was found during excavations of a 
mound on the fjord of that name near to Bergen. I 
understand that the remains are preserved in the Bergen 

But far surpassing any of these we have already 
mentioned is the great Gogstad ship discovered in the 
year 1880 near to SandeQord. The mound in which she 
lay was 18 feet above sea-level, and the prow was placed 
looking seaward, as if ready for a voyage again. The con- 
dition in which this fine old ship was found is nothing 
short of marvellous, and is attributable to the fact that 
the blue clay in which she was embedded had preserved 
her from the air. The upper part has unfortunately been 
damaged, owing (thinks Du Chaillu) to the clay being 
mixed with sand, and so allowing the air to penetrate 





She is clinker-built, entirely of oak, and caulked with 
cow's hair spun into a sort of cord. Her planking is 
of oak, If inches thick, and her length over all is 79 feet 
4 inches, beam 16| feet, and depth 6 feet amidships, but 
%\ feet at the extremities. She weighs about twenty 
tons, displacing about 959 cubic feet. Her gunwale 
above water is amidships 2 feet 11 inches, while at bow and 
stern it rises to ^\ feet. Her draught is only 3 feet 7 inches. 
In many respects she resembles the Tune ship, but this is 
indeed a saiUng vessel. There is a step for the mast, and 
thirty-two oars were carried — sixteen on either side — the 
oar-holes being provided with shutters so as to keep out 
the sea. Through the courtesy of the British Consul 
at Christiania I am enabled here to show two excellent 
photographs of the ship as she now lies in the keeping of 
the Royal Frederiks University, Christiania. Professor 
Gabriel Gustafson has been instrumental in preserving 
the ship from further decay, and the reader who desires a 
complete description of the Gogstad ship is referred to the 
latter's publications concerning her. It is quite evident 
from her construction that her builders possessed the 
greatest experience and that her designer, whoever he may 
have been, thoroughly "understood the art, which was 
subsequently lost, to be revived in modern times, of shaping 
the underwater portion of the hull so as to reduce the 
resistance to the passage of the vessel through the water." * 
It is the opinion of experts in naval architecture that for 
model and workmanship this vessel is a masterpiece, nor 
for beauty of lines and symmetrical proportions could she 
be surpassed to-day by any man connected with the art of 
designing or building ships. 

As rebutting the statement of those who would limit 
the possibilities of these early ships to short voyages, it 
may not be out of place to mention that at the end of the 

♦ ''Ancient and Modern Ships," part i., ''Wooden Sailing Ships/' 
p. 60, by Sir George C. V. Holmes, K.C.V.O., C.B., London, 1900. 



nineteenth century an exact replica of this Gogstad ship \ 
was built, and sailed across the Atlantic on her own 
bottom. She proved to be a capital sea-boat and was for 
some time a source of great attraction at the Chicago 
exhibition. From the various articles of antiquarian 
interest that were found in the Gogstad ship, as well as 
from the style of carving with which the vessel was 
decorated, she has been given the date of somewhere 
between the years 700 and 1000 a.d. According to the 
Sagas such a ship as this w^ould carry two or more boats 
propelled by from two to twelve oars. It is therefore 
interesting to remember that fragments of three were 
found within this mother ship. 

Fig. 28 shows the bakbordi or port side looking forward 
from the stern. The dark triangular erection towards the 
bows is the sepulchral chamber in which the old sea-chief 
was laid. The unfortunate break in the ship's side below 
was evidently the work of thieves bent on steaUng some of 
the articles of value while the ship was under the mound. 
The wooden shields, or pavisado to protect the oarsmen 
from the enemy, are much in evidence, and the beautiful 
Unes of her stern cannot fail to be admired. She has a 
somewhat flat floor amidships for greater stability, but the 
general sweep of her lines is exquisite. Fig. 29 is even 
more interesting still as showing the stjoriwordi or star- 
board side looking forward. The height of the stern, and 
the planking, are here clearly discerned: but especially 
claiming our attention is the rudder. Here it is now a 
fixture, having developed like the Mediterranean ships 
from a loose oar at the side. It remained as we see it 
here until the beginning of the fourteenth century. In 
this Gogstad ship the rudder is fixed to a projection of 
solid wood, on which it is pivoted. Into the neck of the 
rudder a tiller was fitted, which we shall see quite clearly 
in the illustration of the seal of Winchelsea in the 
following chapter. Even nowadays, while in the modern 





Scandinavian ships the rudder is at the end and not at the 
side of the ship, the steering helm comes round at the side 
so as to avoid the high sternpost Figs. 80 and 81, which 
have been sketched from modern Norwegian and Russian 
ships, will show not merely how wonderfully has this Viking 

type prevailed up 
till to-day, but 
how the tiller also 
has altered only 
very slightly. 
From the stern of 
the Gogstad ship 
will be noticed the 
rope for puUingup 
the rudder clear 
of the water-line 
(as in St Paul's 
damage when 
.... ^ beaching. The 

steenng side was of course always the starboard, whence 
this word origmates. On this side the reader will notice 
j, the oar-holes mentioned above. The class to which this 
I Gogstad ship belongs is that of the skuta, which was 
* extensively used in Norway. Such craft as these, though 
they were not the biggest of the Viking ships, were never- 
theless of great speed. The actual word skMa indicates 
to shoot, m the sense of passing speedily. No doubt 
the tarmhar Dutch craft schuyt is, at least in name, derived 
irom this. 

Being an open ship it was customary to stretch a tent, 
called a tjald, over the vessel under which the crew could 
sleep at night or shelter in bad weather. This was extended 
by means of cords and wooden stretchers. A pair of these 
latter have been found in the Gogstad ship with carved 
hgure-heads. Very similar to the ships depicted in the 

Fig. so. Norwegian Ship, 


Bayeux tapestry, as we shall presently see, the Gogstad 
ship may be regarded as a typical Viking ship, such as we 
are accustomed to read of in the literature of the Sagas. 

Since this last ship was unearthed there has also been 
found another Viking ship, which we shall refer to by the 
name of Ose- 
berg. This was 
discovered on 
the western side 
of the Chris- 
tiania Fjord, in 
the district of 
Vestfold, in the 
year 1903. Its 
resting place 
was, as usual, 
deep down in a 
mound. Hap- 
pily the work of 
excavation was 
put into scientific hands, and the University of Christiania 
sent Professor Gabriel Gustafson to Oseberg to superintend 
the digging, which proceeded with great care, and about 
Christmas, 1904, the whole ship was fully disclosed. The 
various pieces were subsequently put on board a lighter 
and brought to Christiania, where for the present at any 
rate they are stored in the miUtary arsenal of Akershus, 
each piece having previously been numbered so as to 
faciUtate reconstruction. She is of similar dimensions to 
the Gogstad ship though a little shorter, but unfortunately 
she has not been so well preserved She has in fact 
suffered severely by the earth pressing up from beneath 
while her own weight, together with that of the mound 
above her, have damaged her frames considerably. In 
ornamentation she is indeed superior to the Gogstad ship 
and some detailed carving at the ends of the ship runs 


Fig. 31. Russian Ship. 





If I! 

' I 



along the gunwale. However the wonderful collection oi 
personal property found in her has not yet been surpassed. 
Although she also had suffered at the hands of thieves 
there were discovered in her :— a loom with a tapestry 
full of small pictures resembling those on the Bayeux 
tapestry, implements of various kinds, a carriage but no 
weapons, which latter had probably been stolen unless we 
suppose that his wife and not the sea-chief himself had 
lam buried here. 

With regard to the internal arrangements and fittings 
of the yikmg ships, the rowing benches were placed at 
either side of the ship with a gangway running down the 
centre. In calm weather the ship was of course propelled 
with her oars. In the centre of the gangway, fitted to the 
keelson, was placed the step—stalbr—tor the mast, room 
being left so that the mast could conveniently be raised 
and lowered. Like those of their ancestors in the Mediter- 
ranean, the masts of these ships were lowered by means of 
a tackle on the forestay before going into battle, and also 
when compelled to resort to oars on meeting with a head 
wind. Stays supported the mast from the top to the high 
stem-post, as well as shrouds on each side. The halyards 
passed through a hole below where the shrouds met. 
Wooden parrals called rakki were used to hold the 
yard to the mast, and these are clearly seen in old 
manuscripts of English ships of medieval times. Braces 
came down from the extremities of the yards, leading 
away aft. ^ 

The sail was square and was not practicable for 
tacking, consequently it frequently meant waiting for a 
tair wind or resorting to oars. We learn from the Sagas 
that Harald Sigurdson wishing to visit Constantinople, on 
I his return from Jerusalem, waited with his fleet a whole 
month and a half for a side wind to enable him to display 
his magnificent sails all glorious with rich velvet. The 
sail was much wider at the foot than on the yard, and 

1 i£^ 


exceeded the breadth of the ship. Fig. 30, as we have 
already remarked, represents a modern and practically m 
ancient Scandinavian ship— so little have these craft 
altered in the march of time. It will be noticed that she 
has no boom. However, the Russian ship in Fig. 31 is 
correctly shown with one. That, in fact, is the character- 
ising difference between the ships of these two peoples. 
That a tacking-boom or beiti-ass was in use we know 
from the Ynglinga Saga. It is said to have reached so 
far beyond the gunwale that it could knock a man 
overboard from a boat when sailing too close past.* This 
boom was probably used when v^rishing to sail fairly close 
to the wind. Apparently when the beiti-ass was not m 
use the braces were called sheets. . , . -r 

The sail itself was made of home-spun until with civih- 
sation came the cultivation of flax. It was strengthened 
with a hem of rope, and was frequently striped. Some- 
times it was embroidered or decked with pall. It is 
perfectly clear that the Vikings did know of the art of 
tacking for we find the word in the Norse which means 
this— ^zYa. The portions of the sail were sewed together 
with thread, rings being attached to the leach m such a 
place that the sheets could be conveniently made fast 
when the vessel had need to shorten -ail. Small ropes or 
reefing points were also affixed to the sail. We shall see 
this quite easily when we come to consider similar ships 
in the next chapter. Mention has just been made of 
Sigurdson's sails of velvet. Very highly did the Vikings 
respect their wings. Gorgeous sails were worked by 
their women folk, with cunning designs and beautiful 
embroidery, even historic incidents being included. White 
sails were sometimes striped with red and with blue, 
whilst others of double velvet were made gay with 
exquisitely woven patterns in red, purple and gold. As is 
the case in regard to many other details this custom of 

• Magniisson's « Notes on Shipbuilding," &c., ui supra, p. 50. 







decorating the sail was passed on to the English, and it is 
a matter for regret that our seas do not still witness these 
picturesque spots of warm colour flitting over the cold 
green waves. 

Very poetic, too, are the phrases in which we find, from 
the Sagas, the Norsemen referred to their sail. Thus such 
happy expressions as " The Cloak of the Wind," " The 
Tapestry of the Masthead," " The Sheet spun by Women," 
" The Cloth of the Wind," " The Beard of the Yard," 
" The Fine Shirt of the Tree," are found. With a ship- 
load of thirty or fifty lusty Norsemen singing and swing- 
ing to their oars, with a sail above bellowing out its purple 
and gold over their flaxen heads, with their red and white 
striped hull, and their standards and gay weather-vanes 
waving at her extremities— what a feast of colour, what a 
sight for mortals she must have made as she came sliding 
down the billows towards the unprotected yellow shore I 

There were three distinct classes of ships possessed by 
these Northerners. Firstly, the war-ships, including the 
Dragon type, so called from the figure-head at her 
stem; the Snekkja, named after the Long Serpent or 
Snake ship; the Skuta or swift, "shooting" ship, to 
which the Gogstad and the Nydam craft belong, the Buza 
resembling the Skuia ; and finally the longship, or, to give 
her the native word, langship. But far and away the 
largest of this class was the Dragon, whilst the most 
celebrated for beauty of design was the not inaptly named 
" Long Serpent." Indeed, right until the twelfth century 
this vessel dominated the design of most other ships built 
around the North Sea and English Channel. 

Secondly there were the ships of burthen, modifications 
of the warships : and finally the small boats, also fitted 
with mast and sail, which were carried on board the bigger 

In almost every case there was but a single row of 
oarsmen on each side, protected by the overlapping 


wooden shields from both arrows and waves, whilst the 
name given to the rope surrounding the ship so as to guard 
against the shock of ramming was the viggyrdil. Whilst 
the dragon's head was on the stem-post and the tail of the 
dragon ornamented the stem, the tiller, and, as we know 
from the Gogstad ship, the handles of the oars were 
also decorated. We have a relic of this custom in the 
beautifully carved dogs* heads so often found on yachts 
and other craft before iron helms came so much into 
practice. With regard to the nomenclatures of these old 
vessels we find such figurative terms as " Deer of the 
Surf," " Snake of the Sea," " Lion of the Waves," applied 
to them : but it is not without interest to remark that not 
until about the time of the introduction of Christianity is 
frequent mention made of the naming of a ship at launch- 
ing. They carried with them, on board somewhere, 
rollers wherewith to beach and launch their ships. These 
are referred to in the early accounts of the Viking burials 
and launchings. 

In building a vessel there were three chief classes of 
shipwrights employed. There was the head-smith, the 
stem-smith, who was responsible for the construction of 
her framework, and finally the strake-smith. Besides 
these came also the joiners, nail-makers, blacksmiths and 
other workmen. 

When making a passage every oarsman kept his 
weapons underneath his seat in a chest, and when the 
fiffht began, the ships — following the practice of the early 
Mediterranean galleys — of the aggressor and the enemy 
were locked together so that the warfare resembled a land 
battle. This custom naturally was handed on to the 
English, and there are not wanting in old manuscripts 
illustrations showing this method of warfare. The prow 
had its raised deck and the stern likewise. In between, 
but considerably lower, was the maindeck. At the poop, 
in his historical position, stood the commander. Here, 




I^k. \ 


too, immediately below him was the ship's arsenal for 
whenever fresh arms had to be served out. Each ship had 
five compartments, two being in the stern as just described 
— the commander's room called the lofting, and the fore- 
room used for the next in rank as well as for the arms. 
We have also mentioned the central space of the ship 
where the mast and rowers were placed. And forward 
beyond that were quartered the important men who were 
responsible for defending the stem and who also bore the 
standard, this bow section being divided into two sections. 
One can readily understand how essential it was that only 
picked men should be in this part, for when once the bow 
end had been stormed, it would be with difficulty that the 
enemy, coming aboard, could be repelled from the rest of 
the ship. 

As to the navigating methods of the Vikings, although 
they understood the cardinal points of north, south, east, 
and west long before the loadstone was invented, yet their 
voyages mostly consisted of coasting from shore to shore 
like the ancient Greeks. But as to how they were able to 
make such long voyages as to Iceland, and thence across 
to what are now the New England states of America 
without compass or sextant, I offer no explanation, beyond 
attributing success to that wonderful additional sense and 
intuition which seamen possess and which is, we find all 
round our coasts, developed in a high degree in fishermen 
unlettered and untutored. Of course they had the rising 
and setting of the sun to enable them to distinguish east 
from west, and the stars, too, would be for their assistance, 
but with such slender aids to navigation and in spite of 
being blown off their course as such shallow ships must 
frequently have been, they very rarely got wrong in their 
bearings. But perhaps we ought to admit that usually 
the Vikings were wise enough not to fight against nature 
wantonly ; for they confined their sailing seasons, follow- 
ing the example again of the Mediterraneans, to spring 



and summer. Except when they were in some country 
too far distant, the Vikings always returned home about 
the autumnal equinox and "brought their ships to the 

Because the Vikings coasted as a rule instead of making 
a passage across the Ocean, they were frequently able to 
go ashore at nights to sleep. But whether they slept 
ashore or afloat each man tumed-in in a leather sleeping- 
bag. Under that awning and on board such able ships 
the possibilities of comfort were perhaps not so Umited as 
one might imagine at first. The cooking could only be 
done on land, so this was an additional reason for hugging 
the shore. In fact a municipal law of Bergen in the year 
1276 assumed this, for it enacts that the mate shall, when- 
ever the ship lies at anchor in harbour, cause the crew to 
be put on shore and brought back on board once a day : 
but the cook is to be allowed ashore three times — once to 
take in water and twice to take in food. Bronze cooking 
vessels belonging to the ships have also been found. 

Thus we conclude our investigation of these eternally 
fascinating sailing ships of the land of pines and fjords, of 
glacier and keen biting air. We leave them with reluct- 
ance, but our regret is tempered with the knowledge that 
henceforth wherever we discuss the sailing ships of our 
English nation, we shall know that either obvious or 
concealed there is the Viking influence lurking in her 
design, her manner of construction or her sail and 











is the custom of some writers concerning 
mediaeval ships to deplore the existing 
information as being too scanty to 
afford us any adequate idea as to 
vessels that sailed the seas during 
the first half of the middle age. For 
myself I think that such a statement 
cannot be maintained. 

The evidence on which we are 
able to construct afresh in our minds 
the ships of this period, is scarcely as 
slender as has been supposed, though not unnaturally we 
must make allowances for obvious inaccuracies, for exaggera- 
tions, and for ignorance. But, even when we have done this 
we shall find the sources of information far from shallow. 
I have used as the basis for this chapter, the evidence of 
mediaeval seals, both English and Continental : England, 
Scotland, France, Spain and Flanders all affording 
interesting details of ships by this means. I have gone 
carefully through old coins, and though representations of 
ships thereon depicted have necessarily had to suffer 
through the limitations imposed on the artist by the size 
and shape of the coin, yet this evidence used collaterally 









fcSS* ■ \ 







is the custom of some writers concerning 
mediceval ships to deplore the existing 
information as being too scanty to 
afford us any adequate idea as to 
vessels that sailed the seas during 
the first half of the middle age. For 
myself I think that such a statement 
cannot be maintained. 

The evidence on which we are 
able to construct afresh in our minds 
the ships of this period, is scarcely as 
slender as has been supposed, though not unnaturally we 
must make allowances for ()])vious inaccuracies, for exacro-era- 
tions, and for ignorance. But, even when we have done this 
we shall find the sources of information for from shallow. 
I have used as the basis for tbis chapter, the evidence of 
median al seals, both English and Continental : England, 
Scotland, France, Spain and Flanders all affording 
interesting details of bhips by this means. I have gone 
carefully through old coins, and though representations of 
ships thereon depicted ha\'e necessarily had to suffer 
through the limitations imposed on the artist by the size 
and shape of the coin, yet this evidence used collaterally 
128 ^ 



~» "^^ 


Fig. 33. William the Conquehoh's Ships. 
Fro7n the Bayeitx Tapexlry. 

p. 129. 


with the rest, goes a long way towards completing the 
picture we are endeavouring to paint. 

During the eleventh century, certain merchants from 
Bari on the Adriatic made an expedition to Lycia and 
brought back the remains of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of 
Myra, who had lived and suffered persecution in the 
fourth century under Diocletmn^ Thence grew up a 
wide-spread cult of this saint. fMt only did b^ become 
patron saint of Russia, but of all sailormen throughout 
Christendom^ In ancient pictures we sometimes see a 
ship caught in a terrible storm with sails and gear carried 
away, Boreas or his colleague, raising his head above the 
waters, blowing with inflated cheeks at the helpless ship, 
while above the picture, St. Nicholas appearing in the 
clouds, comes to the aid of the skipper seen praying on 
the poop for deliverance from the horrible seas. In 
England this cult was not wanting either. There are 
between three and four hundred churches in our land 
dedicated in St. Nicholas' honour, and the reader as he 
journeys along the coast, will frequently find that in an 
old seaport the parish church bears this dedication. We 
need not go too far into this matter, but the famous 
parish church of that very ancient seaport of Great 
Yarmouth (whose seamen used to have goodly quarrels 
with the men of the Cinque Ports, and who, long prior to 
the coming of William the Conqueror, were busy with 
the herring fishery), and also of Brighton, are notable 
instances of this devotion to the sailor s saint. The font 
of the Brighton church and of Winchester Cathedral— 
although the design in each case is conventionaUsed— 
cannot fail to assist us. The date of the former belongs 
to somewhere between the years 1050 and 1075 : as to the 
latter. Dean Furneaux informs me that the date is about 

Medieval manuscripts both English and foreign have \ 
happily preserved to us not merely actual facts, but } 

I 129" 


ft^b>, ^ 



exquisitely coloured illustrations of ships. We see the 
vessels in every conceivable way — in course of con- 
struction, ashore, afloat, with sails spread, with sails 
stowed. We see them on rivers and seas, embarking and 
disembarking. We see them in peace and in war, bound 
for the Crusades, or ramming each other, grappling, 
hurling darts and arrows from their elevated forecastles 
and sterncastles, or casting destruction down on to one 
another's decks from the fighting top above. 

We have, too, some slight evidence in contemporary 
stained glass, which by reason of the demands of an ex- 
ceptionally conventionalised art must be regarded with 
caution and only to confirm other evidence. We have 
the clear and valuable evidence of certain mosaics in St. 
Mark's Venice, which help us more than a little with 
regard to the fourteenth century, and, few though they be 
as we remarked in Chapter I., there are some artists whose 
pictures of ships in mediaeval times can be relied upon, 
after making certain allowances already indicated. In 
this class we may include especially Carpaccio, Giorgione 
and Memlinc. The more artistic the mode of expressing 
these ships becomes, however, so much the more prone to 
inaccuracy does the evidence incline, and to this category 
belong the tapestries, models in precious metals, paintings 
on china and earthenware and tiles. In most cases the 
distortion of truth has been in respect of length, breadth; 
and height. ^ 

When we remember how thoroughly the Vikings 
harassed the shores of France and England sailing up the 
Seine and the rivers and creeks of our own land, com- 
mitting piracy on the sea and pillage ashore, and finally 
settling down and conquering the territory, it is not to be 
wondered that their sway in naval architecture and con- 
struction should have been universal in northern Europe. 
We have in the previous chapter already dealt with the 
primitive craft of early Britain, and it is generally supposed 




that the ships which were sent from this country to assist 
the Veneti against Caesar had by this time become wooden 
and not skin-ships. With the Roman invasion of Britain 
would come the introduction of Roman craft, and there 
can be Uttle doubt that the Deal "galley" of to-day,, 
which is the characteristic ship of that part of England 
which was so frequently the landing-place for visitors from 
Gaul, is a relic, much modified, from the Roman times. 
After the withdrawal of the Roman influence from these 
shores, the Saxons and Angles coming in their double- 
ended Viking craft quickly banished almost all the customs 
that the Britons had learned under the Romans. And having 
effected this complete transformation the Saxons settled 
down and practically forsook the sea and shipbuilding. 

But now from the year 787 until the coming of WilHam ^^ 
the Conqueror our forefathers were constantly being | 
invaded by the Northmen in the kind of ships that we/ 
discussed in the last chapter. But before the end of the 
ninth century Alfred succeeded to the throne after the 
country had been ravaged and despoiled by these raiders 
along the north-east coast as far west as Southampton 
Water. Acting on that blessed maxim which alone 
preserves our country to-day, that he who would be 
secure on land must first be supreme on sea, he set himself 
the task of improving on the Viking ships. This he \ 
carried out by making his longships — so the Saxon « 
Chronicles inform us — twice as long as the Danish, and \ 
swifter, steadier and with more freeboard than any war 
vessels that had hitherto been seen in England. Nor did 
he neglect such important details as the seasoning of the - 
timber. But to show how utterly lackiiig'Tiis subjects 
were in all knowledge of seamanship, his oarsmen — some 
of his ships carrying as many as sixty — were all hired 
pirates from the seafaring district of Friesland. Still, 
for all that, he succeeded in his object and defeated 
the cruel foe, 



Hakluyt quotes from one Oether, who voyaging to 
" the Northeast parts beyond Norway reported by him- 
selfe unto Alfred the famous king of England, about the 
yere 890 " that he " tooke his voyage directly North along 
the coast, having upon his steereboard alwayes the desert 
land and upon the leereboard the maine Ocean : and con- 
tinued his course for the space of 3 dayes. In which 
space he was come as far towards the North, as commonly 
the whale hunters use to travell." . . . "The principall 

fmrpose of his traveile this way, was to encrease the know- 
edge and discoverie of these coasts and countreyes, for 
the more commoditie of fishing of horse-whales, which 
have in their teeth bones of great price and excellencie : 
whereof he brought some at his returne unto the king. 
Their skiimes are also very good to make cables for 
shippes, and so used." We see, therefore, that if the 
Saxons had sunk in maritime pursuits this Oether from 
" Helgoland " was one of a class in the northernmost 
parts of Europe that was wont to sail far across the seas. 
From the same traveller we learn that it was evidently at 
this time the custom for a ship on a passage and not 
making port before to " lay still by the night." 

Edgar, too, who reigned from 959 to 975, took a keen, 
interest in his navy. In fact, I would much rather call j 
him the first of our yachtsmen than bestow the title on/ 
Charles II. as is customary. For "this peaceable king 
Edgar," says Hakluyt, "(as by ancient Recordes may 
appeare) his Sommer progresses and yerely chiefe pastimes 
were, the sailing round about this whole Isle of Albion, 
garded with his grand navie of 4000 saile at the least, 
parted into 4 equall parts of petie Navies, eche one being 
of 1000 ships, for so it is anciently recorded." From the 
same source we learn that the number was 4800, although 
it has been also estimated at 3600. One thousand two 
hundred were kept on the east coast ("in plaga Angliae 
Orientali"), and similar numbers to the west, the south 


and the north respectively, for the defence of his kingdom. 
Under Edgar's rule every three "hundreds" (probably 
only of those along the coast-line), were compelled to 
furnish a ship. Nor must we suppose that the mercantile 
marine was entirely at a standstill, for there is frequent 
mention of the English fleets after the time of Athelstan, 
and whilst the men of Kent were busily engaged in the 
herring fishery, trade was regularly being carried on with 
France and Flanders. Under the reign of Edward the 
Confessor the merchant navy grew very greatly. 

The Anglo-Saxon ships of the eleventh century were 
less of the Gogstad or skuta type, than of that bigger 
class to which the "Long Serpent" or snekja belongs. 
We do know from a certain Scandinavian Edda what the 
Viking ships of about the year 1000 were like in dimen- 
sions. We learn that the "Long Serpent" was 117 feet 
long, and carried as many as 600 men aboard. She was 
decked after the manner described in the last chapter, and 
had the five cabins already mentioned. As in the Mediter- 
ranean the ships of burthen developed from the ships 
of war, so in the Anglo-Saxon times the merchantman 
differed from the battleship only in being more beamy, 
and consequently not quite so fast as the longships. 

As to the Scandinavians, they did not confine their 
activities to fighting. Their fleets voyaged as far away as 
the Levant in the south and Iceland in the north, and 
further still to Greenland. It is from the colony of 
Iceland that they are said to have sailed across to the 
New England States in North America. As to their 
sails at this period, there is a Scandinavian coin of the 
ninth century of our era * which shows that the usual lines 
of a Viking ship were continued, with high poop and bow. 
The mast is shown supported by three backstays and one 
forestay, whilst pavisses of shields hang round as in the 

• Reproduced on p. 126, fig. 536, of Prof. Gustafson's "Norces 
Oldtid." re 6 





Gogstad ship. The sail is particularly interesting, as it 
much resembles that of the Mediterranean boats found on 
the Althiburus mosaics, the surface giving the appearance 
of net- work. This is no doubt the joining of the stripes 
of coloured material plus the rows of reef points. In 
addition to the different classes of ships enunciated in the 
previous chapter/tnere were also during Anglo-Saxon 
times vessels called " ceols." These came from Saxony, 
and it is not without interest to remark that the same 
word "keel" is still given to those somewhat beamy ships, 
carrying one huge Viking-like square sail, that to-day are 
seen navigating the canal that connects South Yorkshire 
with the same river Humber up which the Saxons sailed>) 

We come now to the year 1066, when William setting 
forth from St. Valery-sur-Somme on the evening of 
September 27, with a fair wind, disembarked before mid- 
day on the following morning. Before starting there was 
trouble with the reluctant crews, and even when lying a^ 
anchor off St. Valery several ships foundered. Happily 
details.- ^f William's ships are preserved to us by the 
Bayeux tapestry, which is supposed to have been worked 
by his consort. Queen Matilda. From certain variations 
between this interesting, painstaking work and contem- 
porary records we know that it is not absolutely correct. 
Nor, indeed, should we have expected otherwise from the 
work of imaginative ladies unlearned in maritime matters. 
But having made due allowance for that, the Bayeux 
tapestry taken in conjunction with the other evidence is 
most valuable. The photographs which are here repro- 
duced have been taken from the copy of this tapestry in 
the South Kensington Museum. 

In Fig. 32 we see the striped ships of Harold. To the 
left of the picture the ship is being " quanted " off from 
the shore in the manner we saw adopted by the Greeks. 
Two men are wading out to her ; while on board one of 
the crew, having just got the anchor up, is keeping a look- 


out. Three others are ready to row as soon as in deep 
water, while another sailor is stepping the mast. The 
ship next to her has a backstay and forestay as well as 
shrouds. Behind her she tows a small rowing boat for 
going ashore. Some excitement appears to be going on 
aboard her judging by the man forward of the mast who 
is shouting to the helmsman— possibly informing him that 
they are getting into shoal- water, for the man in the bows 
is seen to be sounding with a pole. Notice that a part of 
the crew has collected aft, the sheets having been eased. 
In the next ship it is clearly shown that these sailors have 
come to the stern in order to put their weight on to the 
shrouds so that the mast may be lowered away gently. 
The sail and mast will be seen to be partially lowered, a 
look-out man being still up the latter, and the man forward 
is about to drop the anchor overboard. The ships, as we 
have already seen was the Viking custom, are striped as 
to their hulls. The present writer has seen a modern 
Scandinavian boat of this type though smaller with stripes 
of black and yellow. The pavisses are seen in both ships, 
being apparently coloured alternately. The sail, too,^ is 
striped in accordance with the prevailing custom. The 
shield-like forms hanging down over the stern outside 
may probably be the North European equivalent of the 
aphlaston as a protection against ramming. The decora- 
tion of a dragon's head on stem and stern will be easily 

seen. • . 

In Fig. 33 we see another ship of this kind, with 
rudder still affixed to the starboard, and tiller. We see 
also that William's men, having been commanded to build 
ships specially for the purpose of sailing across the Channel, 
are felling trees. They are seen to be stripping off the 
bark and planing the wood, whilst other shipwrights are 
engaged in putting the craft together. Very interesting 
is the mode of launching shown here. A line attached 
to the bows is taken through a ring on a stake, and five 




men haul away on that. Excepting that nowadays the 
ship would also be put upon a cradle and a capstan or 
tackle would be used, the same method is used for haul- 
ing ashore. Finally, in the same picture also we see the 
weapons and armour and wine being carried down to the 
ships (see Fig. 84). It is an historical fact that this 
wine played no small part in urging the unwillinff men 
to embark on this expedition. 

Touching the size of the Norman ships, they did not 
exceed thirty tons burthen, and as^ we Have seen from the 
above illustration tKey were put together on the beach. 
We have seen, too, that the mast was lowered Mward, 
not^aft, and with the sail and yard. juced to "thTmast. 
1 his practice is confirmed by an illustration shown in an 
old manuscript, in which the sailors have gone aft for 
the purpose of either raising or lowering the mast. 
Hanging on to the stays they are even standing right out 
on the top of the stern-post, ^he y^rd is clearly seen 
trom these illustrations to have been kept fixed to the 
mast and not lowered separately, so that to furl the sail 
when the mast was not taken down the sailors climbed 
the rigging and tied the sail to the yard,-^ In the Brighton 
—or as this old fishing village was then called, Bright- 
helmston— font this is shown quite clearly, as also is a 
hgure holding a tiller, which is correctly shown to be on 

*^tu^*^T^r.,°?^^ ^^^^' ^^^ W^^ *^^ws and stern are typical 
ot the Vikmg type, while the construction appears to be 
chnker. As we shall see from seals and other iUustrations 
while we go down through time this may be regarded as 
the characteristic ship of Northern Europe until the end 
i ,1 ^^'^^^^h century, although the tendency was 
gradually to get away from the " longship " idea and to 
develop into a crescent form. In the Winchester font 
which IS about a hundred years later than the Brighton 
one, this newer shape is most noticeable. Both fonts 
refer to a scene in the life of St. Nicholas. 


At the masthead of the ships of this period, the chief 
ship of the fleet carried a vane or flag. The Bayeux 
tapestry also shows the Moray William's flag-ship. The 
truck is surmounted by a cross, and there appears to be a 
lantern immediately below of somewhat similar appearance 
to that on the Boeotian ship in Fig. 11. We do not know 
to what exact knowledge of seamanship the crews of 
William the Conqueror had attained,* but they would, at 
least some of them, have crossed many times between the 
two countries before in connection with trade, and they 
would have been able to acquire by experience and ob- 
servation, the necessary knowledge of the strong channel 
tides which, although the coastline between Pevensey to 
the eastward has altered since the eleventh century, 
probably were not much different from what they are to- 
day. They would have an excellent mark in Beachy 
Head whereby to make a good land-fall, and a sandy 
beach further to the eastward on which to disembark in 
the bay, nicely sheltered from westerly winds. William, 
having once landed in this country and vanquished Harold, 
did not neglect the care of the navy. By 1071, or roughly 
the date when the font was being placed in Brighton church 
just a few miles to the westward, there was a fleet in being. 
Trade, too, between France and England would now be 
even less fettered than before, and this would naturally 
make for an increase in the merchant shippmg. Neverthe- 

• Evidently the early Europeans did not merely make rash voyages,v. 
trusting entirely to good luck to reach their port. It is quite clear thati 
they had given serious study to seamanship by the early part of the fiftlF 
century, for when Lupus and German, two Gallic prelates, crossed the 
Channel to Britain in the year 429 a.d., they encountered very bad 
weather, and Constantius adds that St. German poured oil on the waves. 
The latter's earlier days having been spent in Gaul, in Rome and as 
duke over a wide district, he had evidently picked up this item of 
seamanship from the mariners of the southern shores. (See Canon 
Bright's "Chapters of Early English Church History," Oxford, 1897, 
p. 19 and notes.) 




less the crews of William's fleet would be more Norman 
than English. Nor was shipbuilding neglected in other 
parts of Great Britain, for Hakluyt gives a chronicle of 
the Kings of Man, in which we find that Godrediis Crovan, 
who gathered together a fleet of ships and sailed to the 
Isle of Man, vanquished its people, and subdued Dublin, 
and " so tamed the Scots that none of them durst build a 
ship or a boate with above three yron nailes in it." 

Under Henry I. the maritime industry prospered much, 
and the king collected a squadron of great size. Up to 
this time it had been the custom that any cargo cast 
ashore from a wreck became ipso facto the property of the 
king. But Henry caused a law to be put into force that 
should any one escape from a wreck alive, the ship should 
not be treated as lost, and her cpntents should not have 
ceased to belong to her owner, ^n this reign too, we learn 
of La Blanche Nef, a fif ty-oared ve ssel that had as 
many as three hundred soufs^on board when she foundered 
on the rocks off the race of Catteville in the year 1120Jf 

Portsmouth, even as early as this period, was springing 
into importance as a naval port, and under Henry II.'s 
reign, London and Bristol, which in after years were to 
come into such prominence and to witness so many fine 
expeditions setting forth to explore all parts of the un- 
known world, now became the two chief ports of England, 
^ hips were gradually getting bigger and bigger, until we 
read of one in the year 1170 carry ing^s jnanjras400 
people^ Henry I L. contributed his share iiTencouragmg 
the progress of shipping by good naval legislature, for it , 
was he who enacted that no one should buyoT sell any; 
ship that was to be carried away from England. ^ 

In the next reign we reach an important stage in the 
history of sailing ships. Richard I. had set his mind on 
undertaking a Crusade to the Holy Land, and this ex- 
pedition had lasting effects on the design of the ships that 
subsequently were built. Instead of coasting to Ireland 


or France or the Orkneys, or even to Norway, England 
now sends her first expedition across the Bay of Biscay to 
the South, the beginning of that wonderful series of great 
voyages of the Enghsh nation which in Elizabethan times 
made our country so famous through her enterprising 
mariners. I have already referred in our first chapter to 
the influence that was effected by the opportunity afforded 
to EngUsh ^s^^r-folk of seeing the ships of the Medi- 
terranean. /\The_ ships of this Sea had developed on two 
separate Ifnes^ There was first the ^aUey type, which 
had remained wonderfully similar to the galley of Greek 
and Roman times. She was essentially a rowed vessel, 
having sails as auxiliaries. In after times all sorts of 
adapTafionsTresuRed from this, which we shall see as we 
proceed through the Elizabethan period. The root of the 
word "galley" is found in the various craft designated 
" galleass," " gaUiot," and " galleon," but it was the first 
of these three that represented the rowed ship in her 
largest dimensions. The other two were sailing ships, 
although preserving some similarity in name. 

The second class of Mediterranean craft consisted of a 
rounder,^*bfoaderfype ^"vessel— the descendant of the 
classic m ercha nt vessel as distinct from the "long ship." 
This iirfact has 15ee'n the gerieraT^ivision in theliistory of 
sailing ships through all times. Under this heading will 
come the various classes of Mediterraneani^aiUng ships 
—not galleys— designated respectively ^Ic aracks ," " great 
sUps^" " busses " or " buccas," " caravels," " barks," and 
"dromons." If we keep these two cTasses distinct' in our 
minds— "galleys " and "ships" — we shall not get far 
wrong during the ensuing centuries. Sailors in all ages 
have always had an unfortunate habit of mixing the 
various classifications of vessels, and we shall^e as we 
proceed to what inconvenience this has attaineoP 

In the records of the Crusades we find mention made 
of the larger and second class^oTthe Mediterranean ships 







of sail. / Near to Beirut the English espied in the distance 
a great ship with three tapering masts, strongly built, 

Eainted green and yellow, with 1500 men aboard/ On 
eing hailed she pretended at first tolbelong^to Richard s 
colleague in the Crusade, the King of France, whose flag 
indeed she was flying, but she was soon discovered to be 
a Saracen ship, and after some difficulty was rammed and 
sunk by the English Viking-shaped and smaller vessels. 
In Hakluyt s account of this ship she is described as a 
"carack." She was probably not very much different 
from the caravel shown in Fig. 43. The th ree tap ering 
masts which astounded tJjQ Englishmen'^ m their "one- 
masted Viking"ships and the tall sides of the giirack which 
gave Richard s men so much difficulty in assault from their 
comparatively small vessels of low freeboard, would not 
fail to bring forth changes in Eirghsh shigbuilding as soon 
as internal and external peace wasH^redTand sufficient 
technical skill had be^en acquired. ' This big shi^or carack 
class— call it what you will — marks a de*t^nyn_editan3 in 
naval architecture to build real_ jhips as distinct from big 
boats^. From her. evolved the vessels that sailed across 
the Atlantic with Columbus, that carried Elizabethan 
explorers to all points of the compass, that fought .the 
Armada and the Dutch, and became adapted in time to 
such wooden walls as the Victory and others, and which 
are not radically dissimilar from the modern fulj-rigged 
ships, though made of iron instead of WQod, with steel 
rigging and a much larger spread of canvas;. > 

(Although the carack class was not rare in the Medi- 
terranean in the twelfth century, it was some time in 
making itself felt in English naval architecture. We must 
needs wait for another three centuries. But what seem 
to have had an almost immediate effect were the castles on 
the Mediterranean galleys at bow and stern. These may 
have come into use in England during the remaining 
years of Richard s or during John's reigu. I have seen 


no illustration of either of these reigns which shows these 
castellated constructions ; but in the reign of Henry III. 
in the seal of Sandwich this structure is sho\vn in the 
bows, at the stern and at the top of the mast. And we 
can be quite sure that unless it were a prevailing type it 
would not have figured in the port's official seal. Fashions- 
moved but slowly in those days, so that it is not unreason- 
able to suppose that these castellated structures had been 
in use for some years prior to the date of the seal — the 
year 1238. At the same time the seal of the City of 
Paris, "which represents the first seal of its "Merchants 
of the Water," belonging to the year 1210, shows the 
Viking shape pure and simple — without any germ of the 
castle— as were the ships of this type whkh accompanied 
the rest of Richard s fleet to the South. jThe high stem- 
and stern-post, the clinker-build, the three stays forward 
to support the mast, and three aft, seen in the seal, show 
how determinedly the Viking type had overrun the north 
coast of France.';^ But there is nothing surprising in the 
French not having adopted the fighting castles by this 


Richard having despatched his navy by the " Spanish 
seas " to meet him at Marseilles, himself travelled over- 
land, and having waited eight days in vain at Marseilles, 
" for his Navie which came not he there hired 20 Gallies, 
and ten great barkes to ship over his men, and so came to 
Naples " and eventually to Messina in Sicily, where to his 
great joy he found his fleet had arrived. After the de- 
parture of the French King from Messina, Richard fol- 
lowed "with 150 great ships and 53 great gallies well 
manned and appointed." They were caught in a strong 
southerly gale, but only two of his fleet appear to have 
foundered. Later on, in the account included in Hakluyt, 
we find that the whole fleet that was gathered at the port 
of Lymszem consisted of "254 tall shippes, and above 

threescore galliots." 



Fig. 35 represents a Mediterranean warship of the 
thirteenth century and well shows how far ahead the 
Southerners still were of the North Europeans. Notice 

'i ;,i ■ 

1 1 ■ 1 


Fio. 35. Mediterranean Warship op the Thirteenth Centuryj 

especially the stemcastle and forecastle. The former is 
open at the sides and differs not very much from the 
sterncastle in the clay model shown in Fig. 17. In the 
forecastle of the thirteenth-century ship before us will be 
seen a warrior standing ready to hurl down spears at the 
galleys over which his ship towered so high. The large! 
cage-like fighting-top is used as well for steadying the) 
unwieldy yard of the main sail as for purely warlike 
143 "^ ^ 


purposes. The rope ladders are also seen, and the^^ng/T 
consists of a large squaresail on the main with a lateeix on^/ 
the mizzen. The latter, having been for many hundreds 
of years seen up and down the Mediterranean, would but 
naturally find its way into the rig when a second mast was 
added. It would be very acceptable as being farjiandl^r 
than the big squar^ail and capable of being easily stowed 
in a breeze. When her commander was endeavouring to 
sail a tubby old craft like this as close to the wind as she 
could get, the help of the lateen mizzen by sending her 
head up into the wind would counteract the tendency to) 
fall off from the breeze. I attach considerable importance 
to this illustration as it is the earliest picture I know of 
giving us anything of a satisfactory idea of the kind of ships, 
other than the galley class, that sailed the Mediterranean 
during about the time of Richard's crusade. Perhaps this 
is one of those " great ships " already alluded to. At any 
rate she belongs to the sailing-ship days. The method 
of stowing her anchor is clearly shown. Very interesting, 
too, is the manner of bending the sails to the yard. No 
lacing of any kind seems to be employed, but strips of the 
sail appear to pass round the yard and then meet the cloth 
again on the other side. 

This is a Venetian ship, and when we consider that at 
this time Venice was the foremost maritime power in the 
world, it is not surprising that her vessels subsequently 
influenced Spain and thence Northern Europe to a won- 
derful extent, as soon as the latter nations had begun to 
discard the Viking type which had so long been the model 
of their shipbuild. This illustration is from the work of 
one of Giotto's pupils. 

As to the other ships which Richard had with him 
besides the Viking type, there were the Mediterranean 
galleys, somewhat similar to those shown in Figs. 57 
and 58. [A?' dromon " or " dromond " is also mentioned, 
but this word was used very loosely, as for instance the 



word ** barge" and other examples already given in our 
own times. ,_^ometimes ** dromon " referred to a vessel of 
large tonnage^> but the reader will see in Fig. 36 a much 
smaller ship bearing the same appellation. This mosaic is 

Fio. 36, A Fourteenth-Century Dromon. 

taken from the ceiling in St. Mark's, Venice, and belongs 
to the year 1359. The incident depicted is that of bringing 
St Mark to Alexandria from Egiddo. The rig is lateen 
and the rake of the mast is about the same as seen in the 
modern dhow-rigged yacht shown in Fig. 101. In the 
dromon St. Mark is at the stem sheltered from the follow- 
ing sea by a bulwark that would seem to have been super- 
added to the hull. Notice, too, that by this time a rudder 
has been fixed to the ship at the extreme stern, and that it 
appears to be worked by means of a rope leading in through 


a hole in the gunwale. Of the crew of two one is holding 
on to the vang, which comes down from the peak of the 
sail, a relic, no doubt, of the brace of the squaresail, while 
the man forward has just hoisted up the sail. Nowadays, 
that part of the mast seen to project beyond the sail would 
be cut off in a dhow-rigged vessel, the yard coming flush 
with the truck of the mast. 

There was also in the fleet of Mediterranean craft which 
joined Richard,; a Vihip of the class called a biiss^ bucca, or 
buzzo. This was a Venetian type of merchant ship, bluff— v 
bowed and highly useful as a transport. Levi* derives 
the name, not from the Italian word meaning ** stomach," 
although she has a hold capable of stowing away much 
cargo, but from buco meaning a hole or small, dark room, 
into which the cargo was throwfi. The various kinds 
of gaBeys are spoken of under the names of gallion, galUot,*-* 
galleass — though in course of time a different and distinctive 
meaning has been assigned to each of these words — and the 
visser was a shallow transport perhaps not differing much 
from the hippago of the Althiburus mosaic. A " barge " 
was probably more like one of those tar-covered " coasters " 
that one sees loading in every port — in hull, thajfeis, but with 
a square- sail and of course no triangular head sails^ f ^P^ the 
Viking class Richard had with him some of the 0neccas 
or "Long Serpent" type as well as some "Cogs." The 
latter class was also of Scandinavian origin and probably 
somewhat bigger than the skuta typS Hakluyt includes 
a letter sent from our King Henry III. to Haquinus, King 
of Norway, granting permission to Norwegian merchants 
to come and go freely into English ports. "Wee will 
and command all bailifes of Fortes," reads the mandate, 
" at which the Cog of Norway (wherein certaine of the king 
of Norwaie his souldiers, and certain Merchants of Saxonie 

• " Navi Venete da codici Marini e dipinti," by Cesare Augusto Levi, 
Venice, 1892. 

t See the ship in the seal of Dam, Fig. 40. 

K 145 

7i. I 



^re coming for England) shall touch, that when the fore- 
said Cog shall chance to arrive at any of their Havens, 
they doe permit the said Cog safely to remain in then- said 
Havens, &c." Perhaps she was a new type of Viking ship 
and, like the " Long Serpent," gave her name to the class 
of ships built after her model 

On a MS. in the possession of Corpus Christi College, 
Cambridge, we see a couple of galleys ramming each 
other with the spur some distance above the waterline. 
The largest of Richard s galleys in the Mediterranean had 
thirty oars, and the Viking type of steering paddle was still 
used, since the rudder affixed to the farthest end of the 
stern had not yet been introduced into ships of North 
Europe. Masts and sails were carried as usual. The 
larger ships of Richard's fleet that we have mentioned also 
carried engines for projecting darts as well as terrible 
explosives. The banner under which they fought at this 
time was that of St. George. As to the equipment of this 
first great English fleet the chief vessels had each three 
spare steering paddles, thirteen anchors, thirty oars, two 
sails, three sets of all kinds of ropes, and dupUcates of all 
gear except the mast and boat. There are not wanting 
plenty of references to the esnecca or "Serpent" class. 
Thus there is a record of payment " to the men of the 
esnecca " (Pipe Roll, 5 Henry II., p. 45. Pipe Roll Socy.) ; 
"paid out to me of the snecca for the Queen's passage 
and that of Henry FitzGerald with the treasure and of 
Nicholas de SigiUo £30 : 10 " (Pipe Roll, 6 Henry III., 
p. 47) ; " to the sailors of the snecca twenty shillings by 
the king's writ" (Pipe RoU, 8 Henry II., p. 35). The 
ship that was reserved for carrying royalty across from 
England to France was always at this period called the 

" esnecca." 


The resulting effects on England of this crusade were 
not confined to her naval architecture. Although it was not 
the first time that a North European or even an Englishman 


had sailed in the Mediterranean, it was the first instance 
of a naval expedition on a large scale setting forth from 
these shores to the Levant. It gave our sailors in a 
smaller way just that experience which the recent world- 
cruise of the fleet of the United States from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific and back again has obtained for American 
sailormen. It made deep-sea sailors of the men who had 
only been coasters, and showed them in what directions 
their ships could be improved upon. But its effect on the 
trade of England was to expand it, to create new sources 
of imports and fresh outlets for her exports. England 
owes a great debt to Richard I., besides, for his attention 
to maritime legislature. Hakluyt gives a list of the laws 
the king ordained for his navy during this expedition, as, for 
instance, that any one who killed another on board ship 
should be tied to the dead man and thrown overboard : and 
that if he killed him on land he should in Hke manner be 
tied " with the partie slaine, and be buried with him in the 
earth." It was from the Levant that Richard brought a 
roll of laws regulating maritime affairs, and which, being 
held in high honour on the Southern sea, he ordered to be 
observed in English waters. Very drastic were these laws 
of Oleron, framed for the benefit of the merchant service. 
Thus if a pilot from ignorance or otherwise lost the ship 
entrusted to his navigation and the merchants thereby 
sustained damage, the pilot was to make full satisfaction 
if he had means, and if he lacked these he was to forfeit 
his head. It is interesting to note the care that was taken to 
prevent ships fouling each other's anchors, for it was enacted 
that all anchors were to be indicated by buoys. But no 
modem sailor will read without a smUe the regulation 
that if a vessel were wind or weather-bound, the master, 
when a change in the conditions had occurred, was to 
consult his crew, saying to them, " Gentlemen, what think 
you of this wind ? " and to be guided as to whether he 
should put to sea by the opinion of the majority. It is 







not difficult to imagine what the verdict of such a consul- 
tation would be to-day on a big barque, for instance, after 
the men have returned from their carouse ashore, if the 
law were still in force. The " gentlemen's " opinion of 
the wind would be something unprintable. 

During the reign of John, ships reached a size as big 
as eighty tons. Hakluyt contains a reference to the time 
when Louis invaded England to aid Archbishop Langton. 
" Hubert of Borough (then captaine of Dover) following 
the opinion of Themistocles in the exposition of the oracle 
of the woodden walls, by the aide of the [Cinque] Port 
townes, armed fortie tall ships, and meeting with eightie 
saile of French men upon the high seas, gave them a most 
couragious encounter, in which he tooke some, sunke 
others, and discomfitted the rest." Under John the 
English navy was considerably improved, and this was 
the first of our sovereigns to retain seamen with permanent 
pay. Instead of being alternately pirates, fishermen and 
fighting men of the state, the sailor became endowed with 
a higher status. The privileges first granted to the Cinque 
Ports by Edward the Confessor, William the Conqueror 
and their successors, did much to assist the progress of 
the sailing ship ; but in addition to the ships supplied to 
him by these south coast ports, John had also ships of his 
own. This reign is notable, too, as the first instance of 
our country claiming to be " The Sovereign of the Seas." 

Nor under Henry III. was this progression in maritime 
matters arrested. Every year the size of ships was be- 
coming greater. Thanks to the Mediterranean influence 
they were getting away fi*om the Viking type to a more 
protected and seaworthy kind. Decks and cabins and 
more than one mast were introduced, and in 1228 a vessel 
that was sent to Gascony with the kings effects had 
expended on her a certain sum of money " for making a 
chamber in the said ship to place the kings things in." 
In 1242 there is a direction for the cabins of the king and 


queen to be wainscotted. The seal of Sandwich, one of 
the Cinque Ports, of the date of 1238, shows the customary 
jViking hull, as usual, clinker-built. But some notable 
additions have been made. Both in the bows and stern a 
raised structure has been added to enable the men to hurl 
the same destruction from a height that they had seen the 
Mediterraneans operate during the Crusade. The space 
underneath the stern-castle was used as a kind of roofed 
deck-house or cabin, but open at the sides, and we see one 
of the barons of Sandwich sitting in a dignified manner 
under this shelter, while a couple of the crew are aloft on 
the yard, evidently about to unfurl the sail. At the top 
of the mast has been placed a fighting-top. A very thick 
forestay, two backstays, and four shrouds are shown, but 
possibly the two halyards did duty also as backstays. A 
small rowing boat is seen carried on board, as well as two 

more crew. 

Fig. 37 has been sketched from the seal of Winchelsea 
in the British Museum. For detail of information it is 
pre-eminent : the date is the end of the thirteenth century. 
The reader, after making allowances for the Umitations 
of space and shape imposed on the artist, will at once 
remark the similarity of the lines, especially at bow and 
stem, between this and the Gogstad ship. The stem- 
and stern-post are depicted very high. Forward is seen 
the forecastle taking its Gothic curves from the architecture 
on shore. Above, floats a flag. B^low the stern-castle 
sits the baron or commander protected by the roof and 
arches, whilst over him two trumpeters are pealing forth. 
We have seen this trumpeting at the stern also depicted 
in the ancient Mediterranean ship coming into harbour 
(Fig. 22), and the practice was evidently still a common 
one in the middle ages when entering or leaving port so as 
to give due warning to approaching vessels. Hakluyt con- 
tains a reference to Richard when he had wearied of 
waiting at Marseilles and had sailed to Messina. " After 
^ 149 






that he had heard that his ships were arrived at Messana 
in Sicilie, he made the more speed and so the 23. of 
September entred Messana with such a noyse of Trumpets 

Fio. 37. Seal op Winchelsea (End of the 
Thirteenth Century), 

and Shalmes, with such a rout and shew, that it was to the 
great wonderment and terror both of the Frenchmen, and 
of all other that did heare and behold the sight." 

The rigging, the sail furled to the yard, and the two 
braces are so clearly shown as to need no comment. But 
two other points are of considerable interest to us. 
Firstly, notice that the rudder, on the starboard side, is 
almost identical with that of the Gogstad ship. From 


the hull projects a bracket to support the rudder, while 
above, the tiller or clavus fits in at right angles and comes 
inboard to the helmsman. Secondly, notice that the two 
men forward are getting up the anchor and that the cable 

Fig. S8. Seal op Hastings (Thirteenth Century). 

leads aft to a winch— probably a great wooden drum like 
that found on the Dutch schuyts of to-day— for the two 
men in the stern are clearly shown working away with 
their handspikes, which would fit into the windlass drum 
in the manner the reader will notice any day he likes to 
take a stroll and look at the Dutch craft lying of! 
BiUingsgate. In a few moments the ship will be under 
way, for one of the crew has been sent aloft to unfurl the 
sail. The fiffhting-top is not shown on this seal, but that 





) i 



is possibly accounted for by the fact that the artist was 
cramped for space. Winchelsea, or as Hakluyt speaks of 
it, "Frigmare Ventus"— and not inaptly so-called, as 
those who have been caught in the nasty chilly squalls 
off this ancient shore will agree — was one of the onginal 
five Cinque Ports before the others were added, and in 
the time of Edward I. had to provide ten ships, though 
during the reign of the third Edward this was increased 
to twenty-one with five hundred and ninety-six mariners. 

Fig. 38 has been drawn from the seal of Hastings in 
the British Museum. The date is the thirteenth century, 
and although no forecastle is shown, the erection in the 
stem scarcely requires any further comment The high 
stem and stern are seen again, and what is of considerable 
interest, the three rows of reef-points. This seal depicts 
an incident in one of the many engagements that took 
place about this tune along the coast between Beachy 
Head and the North Foreland. Both ships, it will be 
noticed, are saiUng, and one has rammed his enemy and 
cut his ship down to the water. An unfortunate warrior 
is seen swimming in the foreground of the picture. On 
the banners at bow and stern of the victorious ship are 
shown the arms of the Cinque Ports. All three warriors 
are seen clad in mail. 

The seal of Dover, another of the Cinque Ports, of the 
date of 1284, bears out the general characteristics we have 
been discussing. The castles at bow, stem and top of 
mast : the trumpeters— this time at the bows : the two 
men getting in the cable: the one man going aloft to 
unfuri the sail— these details are all depicted. Both 
Dover and Sandwich seals contain a bowsprit after the 
manner of that seen in the Roman merchant ship moored 
alongside the quay in Fig. 21. It is therefore probable 
that a small square sail was used occasionally at this time 
for tilting the ship's head off the wind. 

The model by Mr. Frank H. Mason, R.B.A., repro- 


duced in Fig. 39, was in the Franco-British Exhibition and 
is now in the South Kensington Museum. It may perhaps 
assist the reader to obtain a more living picture of the 
ships of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The 
castles will be at once recognised. Frequently the sail 
was decorated as shown. The detachable " bonnet," still 
used by the sailors of Scandinavia and Norfolk, can just 
be seen below the decoration. The steering oar, or rudder, 
is attached to the starboard side, but the reader can just 
see the handle coming up. The massive wooden fenders 
were both to strengthen the ship and for a protection 
when going alongside an enemy. Since so frequently the 
same ship that was used for fishing or trading was also 
employed as a battleship or even pirate, the unwieldy, 
top-heavy castles were made so as to allow of them being 
removed in times of peace. The ship before us probably 
represents one of the larger, esnecca type, and the snake's 
head coming inboard from the stem-post is very noticeable. 
From the mast-head of the commander-in-chiefs ship 
by day flew a banner, and by night a lantern hung in 
order to direct the saiUng of the fleet. The officers of the 
Cinque Ports were ordered to cut adrift the banner of a 
hostile commander in an engagement, so that the whole 
of the enemy's fleet might be thrown into confusion. 
Before the close of Henry II. 's reign another crusade was 
undertaken, but the ships of the Southem sea seem to 
have reached to larger dimensions by now. There is a 
record of a ship buSt in Venice for France in the year 
1268. She was 110 feet long, 40 feet broad, and llj feet ^ 
deep in the hold. She had also 6^ feet of head-room on ' 
her main deck. Her crew totalled 110 officers and 
men, and she was of about four or five hundred tons 
burthen.* The English ships had another opportunity of 
testing their sea-going quaUties in the Mediterranean, for 

• " Social England," edited by H. D. Traill, D.C.L., and J. S. Mann, 
M.A., London, 1901. See article by W. Laird Clowes, vol. i. p. 589. 














during a storm in the year 1 270 the English squadron was 
the only part of the allied fleet that escaped without 


During Henry II.'s reign the magnet seems to have 
been first commonly used in navigation. From an old 
MS. in Corpus Christi College Cambridge we see the 
derivation of that anchor which is also freely used by 
balloons nowadays and which seamen find extremely 
useful when dragging for a lost anchor or cable — the 
grapnel with its several flukes projecting from a common 
centre. The MS. mentioned illustrates a sea-fight, and 
sailors are seen keeping the enemy's galley close alongside 
by means of one of these anchors or grappling irons. The 
other anchors, as will have already been noticed by the 
reader in the illustration of the warship by Giotto's pupil 
in Fig. 85, were stockless. 

Edward I.'s charter, granted to the Cinque Ports, 
ordained that each time the king passed over the sea the 
Cinque Ports should "rigge up fiftie and seven ships" 
every one of which was to be manned with twenty armed 
soldiers. These were to be maintained at the ports' own 
cost for fifteen days together. In this charter we come 
across the expression, so familiar to us now, " before the 
mast." Thus it adds : " And that they be free of all their 
owne wines for which they do travaile of our right prise, 
that is to say, of one tunne before the mast, and of another 
behind the maste." 

About the time of Edward I. two-masted ships became 
more general. One of the first acts of his reign was to 
revive the wool trade between England and Flanders: 
this necessarily made for the extension and progression of 
shipping. Fig. 40 represents the seal of the town of Dam 
in West Flanders. The actual date of the seal in the 
British Museum, from which this has been drawn, is 1309, 
or two years after the death of Edward I. This repre- 
sents one of the larger or barge class of ships. The most 


striking feature is her apparent modernity, for if we were 
to remove the fore- and stern-castles and rig her as a ketch 
by adding a mizzenmast and triangular head sails we should 
have before us one of those black traders which even the 

Fio. 40 Seal of Dam (West Flanders) (a.d. 1309). 

most casual observer must have looked at many times 
during his summer holidays by the sea. She marks a very 
decided departure now from the Viking type, but we must 
remember that she represents only one species of ship. 
The prevailing type elsewhere in Northern Europe con- 
tinued to be a modification of the Norwegian. The 
ship before us would be rigged with the usual single 
squaresail. Perhaps also she used a smaller square head- 
sail occasionally, as the bowsprit is present, but the most 
important feature of all is the change that has come in the 





steering arrangement. Hitherto we have always seen 
the rudder at the side ; but now we get to that stage where 
the rudder is placed at the extreme stem of the ship, 
where it has remained ever since. Such a ship as this m 
the North Sea would be no doubt the counterpart of the 
Mediterranean buzzo of the same century. I believe this 
ship of Dam (spelt also Damme) to be the earliest illustra-| 
tion of any North European vessel showing the rudder 
thus placed, although the seal of Poole dated 1325 has her 
rudder also in this position. The Viking ships of Norway 
did not adopt this steering method until the beginning of 
the fourteenth century also. In England there is an 
additional example in a man-of-war built for Edward III. 
at Lynn, Norfolk, in 1336. She was named La Felipe. 
It is worth remembering that it was off Damme that the 
English fleet in the reign of John inflicted a severe defeat 
upon the French. 

The ship shown in the Poole seal marks another develop- 
ment in the fore- and stern-castles, which by now appear 
to be not so much superstructures as part of the hull 
itself. We shall see as we continue through the ensuing 
centuries how this " castle " idea increases. Another point 
of interest exhibited in the Poole design is a large anchor 
hanging from the bows. This now has a stock in the 
usual place as distinct jfrom that in the illustration by 
Giotto's pupil. This Dorset craft has some resemblance 
to the previous Viking type, but instead of being after the 
pattern of the " longships " she shows the tendency towards 
crescent-shape. As evidence that the pure Viking influence 
was still extant in Europe let us take the seal of San 
Sebastian, Spain, which is to be seen in the British Museum. 
The date is 1835, and it is remarkable that this type should 
have spread so far south as the other side of the Bay of 
Biscay. She has the high stem and stern with a stern- 
castle, but not a forecastle. She has one mast with a 
streamer, the sail being furled by two men along: the yard 


as usual. The mariner steers with a rudder to starboard, 
and the braces as well as the bowsprit are shown. 

^Ty the reign of Edward III. the current gold coin 
called a noble showed a ship-design still more crescent- 
shaped than the Poole seal. By now the sterncastle has 
come right down on deck, the rudder hung on pintles is 
seen at the extreme stern, and the back stays lead not 
into the hull but to the top of the sterncastle. The actual 
length on the water-line is much smaller now and the 
overhang greater. The date of the noble is 1360. An 
imitation of this coin, and bearing a similar ship, was 
struck by David II. of Scotland in 1357.* In the seal of 
Boston belonging to the year 1375 the sterncastle is seen 
to have come down to the deck, the sheer of the ship 
coming up, so to speak, to meet it. The forecastle has 
also come lower, but projects away ahead of the vessel. 
There are three masts and thi^e fighting-tops, and the 
shrouds come outside of the hulv Edward III. admirably 
continued the example of the kings of England and helped 
forward the steady improvement of the navy, while the 
glorious victory in the Battle of Sluys, in which the French 
fleet was utterly routed, gave the English seamen their 
opgojjunity of showing their superiority. 

(T't^m the " Black Book of the Admiralty " of the reign 
of Edward III. we see that the admiral's ship carried two 
lanterns at her masthead when sailing at night in order 
that the masters of other ships of the fleet could see the 
course being taken by the flagship The king's ship was 
to be distinguished by three lanterns arranged triangular- 
wise. As to the armament of this period, they consisted 
of bows and arrows, archers from the fighting-tops and 
castles at bow and stem being able by means of their 

* See " Handbook to the Coins of Great Britain and Ireland in the 
British Museum," London, 1899. 

The Edward III. coin will be found to be reproduced on all the 
Publications of the Navy Records Society. 







I % 


superior height to do considerable damage. Cannon were 
introduced in 1338, and before the close of the fourteenth 
century guns and gunpowder were becoming common, 
but the influence which cannon had on the design of ships 
we shall notice presently. 

Nor did the enterprising spirit imbued through the 
Crusades perish. As early as 1344 an Englishman, of the 
name of Macham, sailed as far south as to discover the 
Island of Madeira, but unfortunately his lady-love had 
fallen a victim to sea-sickness during the voyage, and after 
going ashore with some of his company, the ship either 
dragged her anchor or parted her cable and " with a good 
winde made saile away, and the woman died for thought." 
However, after building a chapel over her grave, Macham, 
according to the account of Antonio Galvano given in 
Hakluyt, ** ordeined a boat made of one tree (for there be 
trees of a great compasse about) and went to sea in it, with 
those men that he had, and were left behinde with him, 
and came upon the coast of Afrike, without sail or oare." 
It was the information given by Macham and his men that 
induced the French to voyage thither and also to discover 
the Canary Isles. 

In 1360 Nicholas of Lynn, " a Franciscan Frier, and an 
excellent Mathematician of Oxford," a good astronomer 
and experienced in the use of the astrolabe, " went in com- 
panie with others to the most Northern Islands of the 
world, and there, leaving his company together, hee 
travailed alone, and purposely described all the Northerne 
Islands with the indrawing seas." We get some idea of 
the speed of the ships of olden days by the statement made 
that from L5mn (Norfolk) to Iceland is not more than a 
fortnight s voyage with an ordinary wind. Reckoning the 
distance between the two as roughly a thousand miles this 
would give the day's run at about seventy miles. It was 
from this same Lynn that sixteen ships and 382 mariners 
were contributed to the enormous fleet of Englisli ships 


which Edward III. had in 1347, when he besieged Calais. 
Some idea of the development that had gone on since 
Arthur's time may be obtained when we recollect that the 
English ships at Calais numbered 700 and the mariners 
over 14,000, without including the assistance of Ireland, 
Spain, and other helpers. 

We pass over the reign of Richard II. as being any- 
thing but prosperous for the progress of the sailing ship. 
His successor, Henry IV., however, entered into com- 
mercial treaties with Prussia and the Hanseatic League, 
much to the advantage of shipping. Piracy had become 
so rampant on the North Sea as to cause merchants to 
abstain from sending their goods across from the one 
country to another. This Henry did his best to stop. 
He endeavoured to remove all hmdrances to the herring 
fishery, and all English merchants were to have full liberty 
to arrive with their goods and ships at any port in Prussia. 
The list of claims for satisfaction and recompense set forth 
in the agreement between Henry IV. and the Hanseatic 
Towns throws a light on the ships of the time. Thus we 
find reference to " a ship of Newcastle upon Tine called 
Godezere . . . being of the burthen of two hundred 
tunnes . . . which ship together with the furniture thereof 
amounteth unto the value of foure hundred pounds." 
Mention is also made of the Shipper Berline of Prussia^ 
belonging to the port of Hull ; of a ship called the Cogge, 
belonging to William Terry of Hull, carrying a cargo of 
both broad and narrow cloth. Another ship from the 
same port was called the Trinitie ; another bore the name 
of the Hawkin Devlin of Dantzik. Among other acts of 
piracy, that perpetrated near Plymouth on "a certainebarge 
called the Michael of Yarmouth^' is mentioned. Another 
vessel, braving superstition, bears the name Friday, another 
which was robbed of her " artillerie, furniture, and salt 
fishes," and herself captured and taken to Norway, was 
named the Margaret. A similar misfortune had happened 





to the Nicholas and also to the Isabel Other unfortunate 
vessels included the Helena ; a certain ship classed as a 
" crayer," and named the Peter ; and two fishing vessels 
called respectively theZ>ogg-er^&!p and the Peter of Wiveton. 
Another fishing ship also called the Dogger was robbed of 
her fish and " furniture," while she was at anchor and her 
crew were fishing near by. Another " crayer " is mentioned 
called the Bilss ofZeland, and still a further one called the 
Busship. One ship was of 300 tons burthen — this being 
measured by tuns of wine — and carried a crew of forty-five. 
' Other ships of the following reign were the Jesus 
^(1000 tons), the Holigost (760 tons), the Trinity Royal 
i (540 tons), and the Christopher Spayne (600 tons). In the 
navy were also seven caracks, barges (see Fig. 40), as well 
as the " ships " that had taken the place of the Viking 
galley. The largest caracks were between six and five 
hundred tons burthen, the barges a hundred tons, whilst 
a class of vessel called " ballingers," * ranged between 
one hundred and twenty, and eighty tons. It was during 
Henry V.'s reign also that, the Battle of Agincourt having 
been fought, the king set forth two years later from 
Southampton for a fresh invasion of France, having caused 
to be built for this purpose ships the like of which was to 
be found nowhere, " naves quales non erant in mundo," 
as the old chronicler quoted by Hakluyt expresses it. 

" The Libel of Enghsh pohcie, exhorting all England 
to keepe the sea," contains in the following rhyme some 
references to the vessels we are considering : 

And if I should conclude all by the King 
Henrie the fift, what was his purposing. 
Whan at Hampton he made the great dromons, 
Which passed other great ships of all the commons : 
The Trinitie, the Grace de Dieu, the Holy Ghost, 
And other moe^ which as nowe bee lost. . • . • 

/ ^ Ballingers were long, low vessels for oars and sails, introduced in 
^ the fourteenth century by Biscayan builders,^'w 
160 ^ 

Fig. ,34. Lading Arms and Wine. 
From the Baycux Tapedrij. 

Fig. 51. Elizabethan Man-of-waii. 

;}. 160. 


Fig. 'MJ. Thihteemu Ckntuuv Encjlish Ship. 

p. ici, 


or again : 

And when Harflew had her siege about^ 
There came caracks horrible great and stoute. 

« • 

The reign of Henry VI., at least as regards ship- 
building, was about as unsatisfactory as had been that of 
Richard II., owing to the scarcity of money consequent 
on the war with France. Further, the unhappy Wars of 
the Roses kept men s minds too tightly gripped to allow 
of them thinking much about commerce or the ships that 
were to carry it. But towards the close of Edward IV. *s 
reign, after peace had been made between England and 
France, matters began quickly to improve, and in the 
time of Richard III. England was sending her ships and 
merchandise to Venice, to Genoa and other Mediterranean 

But let us now go back to trace a little more fully the 
designs of the ships according to the illustrations that have 
survived through history. Firstly with regard to Southern 
Europe. The Mediterranean had still maintained her lead 
in the designing and building of able, roomy vessels. 
Happily we are helped by the work which one or two 
Italian painters have left behind them. There is a most 
interesting picture by Gentile da Fabriano, representing a 
ship of the early fifteenth century. The original which is 
in the Vatican is called "The Miracle of St. Nicholas." * 
She is a fine, strong ship, with a square stem and rudder 
fixed to the middle of the latter. She has two masts as 
well as a bowsprit, and the hull is somewhat crescent-shaped 
The artist has depicted her scudding before a terrific storm, 
which has split the mainsail along the foot where the 
bonnet seems to be laced. Evidently the ship has been 
caught in one of those sudden squalls not unknown to the 
Mediterranean, for otherwise the skipper ought not to have 

• See "Gentile da Fabriano/' p. 134, by Arduino Colasanti, Berifaino 
1909. ir J > s 

»- 161 


carried on so long without unlacing the bonnet. At the 
stem he is seen praying to St. Nicholas who appears in the 
clouds coming to his assistance, while amidships a sailor is 
seen jettisoning some of the cargo. The forecastle resembles 
that of contemporary English ships with a projecting bow- 
sprit. The mizzen-mast and sail are clearly shown, the 
latter being furled to its yard as the ship is running before 
the wind. Pulleys are now prominently indicated, whilst 
a couple of braces are attached both to the main and 
mizzen-yard, while the mainsheet leads right aft to the 
starboard quarter and comes in through a hole in the gun- 
wale pretty much in the same way adopted in a square- 
rigged ship to-day. Two rope ladders are shown, one at 
either side, hanging down over the stern, evidently in order 
to facihtate getting into the ship's boat (seen towing 
astern) if the ship herself shall founder. A fighting-top 
is depicted at her masthead. The picture is altogether 
most fascinating and instructive. 

Carpaccio, the great Venetian artist, whose period is 
covered by the dates 1450-1522, has left behind more 
pictures containing ships than any artist of his time. 
There is in one of his paintings a striking example of a 
contemporary Mediterranean warship. She is shown as 
having a main-mast with square sail and very small topsail. 
Aft she has both a mizzen-mast and bonaventure-mizzen, 
each carrying a lateen sail. She is fitted also with a small 
foresail, spritsail, and carries eight oars on each side.* Like 
Memhnc and other artists, Carpaccio utilises the celebrated 
story of " The Pilgrimage of St. Ursula," for some of his 
best work. It is, indeed, owing to this story, necessitating 
the introduction of ships into the picture, that we possess 
much of our knowledge concerning mediaeval craft. For 
instance, in " The Arrival of the Ambassadors," in " The 
Return of the Ambassadors," in " The Arrival at Cologne," 
and " St. Ursula taking farewell of her parents," we have 

• See Fig. 37 in " Navi Venete." 



presented many valuable details bearing on our subject of 
sailing ships. We see a small open boat in the first of these 
pictures. She has a tiller and one large single lateen sail, 
coming almost down to the water. In the background we 
see the big ship in which the ambassadors have travelled. 
She has a high poop, one mast and square mainsail. In 
the second picture we see a Mediterranean galley with her 
enormous sail. She still retains her name " trireme," and it 
is remarkable how generally she continues to resemble her 
Roman ancestor. In the last of the four pictures mentioned 
above, we see a large ship resembling somewhat the caravel 

The most famous of all the works of that delightfiil 
Flemish painter Memhnc is the reliquary of St. Ursula. 
Those who saw the wonderful collection of " Primitives '^ 
brought together in Bruges in the year 1902 will recollect^ 
the eight exquisite miniatures on the reliquary. Happily 
no less than four of these contain representations of the 
ships in which St. Ursula and her accompanying maidens 
journeyed. The date assigned by Mr. Weale t to these 
paintings is not later than 148a In Fig. 41 one of these 
panels is reproduced. We cannot regard these Memlinc 
pictures of ships as absolutely truthftil : some allowance 
must be made for the artistic temperament. There is, for 
instance, no indication of any braces shown in the illustra- 
tion. But Bruges is not far from the sea, and during the 
fifteenth century it was the great centre of commercial 
activity of the prosperous Hanse towns, and Memhnc 
would have plenty of opportunity to study the details of 
contemporary craft. It may fairly be assumed that in 
spite of a small inaccuracy here and there the general 
drawing of the ships is nautically correct. From other 
pictures and MSS. and stained glass windows of this time 

• See « The Life and Works of Vittorio Carpaccio," by Pompeo 
Molmenti and Gustav Ludwig, London, 1907. 

t "Hans Memlinc," p. 46, by W. H. James Weale, London, 1901. 



we know that this is so. Looking at the picture before us 
we see at once how the Viking hnes have been modified. 
The forecastle and stemcastles are seen in their latest 
form : that is to say, they have long since passed the time 
when they were mere additional structures to the hull of the 
ship. They have, in fact, now been absorbed into the 
general design of the whole vessel. There is still one mast 
supported by backstays, shrouds, and forestays, and there 
is one large mainsail which furls still to the yard. The 
lines of the ship are tubby, but we can easily see the pro- 
genitors of the Dutch craft which went on developing 
until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and tnere 
halted for ever after. Notice, too, that the rudder is in 
its proper place. Such a ship as this resembles in many 
points the one in ** The Miracle of St. Nicholas " referred 
to above. The length of the Viking ship has given way 
to breadth. Roundness has taken the place of straight- 
ness: free board has added to her seaworthiness. We 
shall find this evidence before us confirmed by a certain 
mediaeval Italian illustration * in which a Mediterranean 
ship is being tossed mercilessly about by the Wind, who, 
with inflated cheeks raises his head above the water and 
blows vigorously into the sails. Men are seen tumbling 
into the sea, the mainmast has gone by the board, and 
general confusion reigns. A somewhat similar kind of 
ship is also seen in a reproduction from a stained glass 
window of this period, f 

In a beautiful French manuscript of the fifteenth 
century similar ships to those in Memlinc's work are shown 
with considerable ability.^ Perhaps these French vessels 

• Reproduced in " Navi Venete," Fig. 96. 

t See " Musee R^trospectif dc la Classc 33," &c. 

X This MS. has been carefully reproduced in "Monuments et M^moires," 
par Georges Perrot and Robert de la Steyrie. Tome onzi^me. See article 
on " Un Manuscrit de la Bibliotheque de Philippe le bon k Saint-P^ters- 
bourg," Paris, 1904. 


FiQ. 41. Panel of the Shrine of St. Ursula, after Memunc (1489). 




show the Viking influence somewhat more certainly, espe- 
cially in their bows. We are shown in one illustration a 
scene of the river Seine at Rouen. A ship with a stern- 
castle, now modified rather to a square platform, is seen 
by the shore. She appears to be carvel- and not clinker- 
built ; this is a notable fact. She has shrouds at the sides, 
a forestay, and also an additional stay coming forward 
from the mast to a spot midway between amidships and 
the bow. This may have been in the original ship to act 
as a further support to the sail or it may only be the pro- 
duct of the artist's imagination. If the former it would 
be analogous to the lee-runner but placed forward, and 
must have chafed the sail a good deal. The latter is furled 
to the yard in the usual way. We see in the same MS. 
ships starting forth bound for the Crusades. They are 
fine, bold vessels, broad of beam, with plenty of freeboard, 
clumsy but probably good sea-boats. These French craft 
appear to have a certain amount of overhang at the bows 
and some of them carry a large fighting-top, partly sup- 
ported by means of a stay coming up from both bow and 

Such seals as the following throw light on the ships of 
England in the fifteenth century. That, for instance, of 
Richard Clitherowe, Admiral of the West of England, 
1406, shows a decorated sail and flies an ensign at her 
stern. The reason for this flag being always placed aft 
lies in the fact that the raised poop was the place of 
honour reserved for the commander. Similar ships are 
seen in such seals as those of Thomas Beaufort, Duke of 
Exeter, Admiral of England, Aquitaine and Ireland (1416- 
1426) : John Duke of Bedford, Regent of France, Lord 
High Admiral of England, Ireland and Aquitaine (1435): 
John Holland, second Earl of Huntingdon, Admiral of 
England, Ireland and Aquitaine (1435-1442). This last 
seal shows the Admiral's lantern hanging over the poop. 
Similar ships may be seen in the seal of Richard Planta- 


genet, third Duke of Gloucester, Admiral for Dorset and 
Somerset (1461-1462) ; in the seal of Rutherglen (co. 
Lanark), 1493 ; in that of the English merchants of Hol- 
land—a fifteenth century seal found at Harrow and now 

FiQ. 42. Seal of La Rochelle (a.d. 1437). 

in the British Museum — and in various others of this 
period. Their general characteristics include a crescent- 
shaped hull with forecastle and sterncastle, fighting-top, 
sail decorated with the arms of France and England, &c., 
forestay, two backstays, and a rudder at stem. The seal 
of Rye, belonging to the fifteenth century, shows three 
rows of reef-points, an ensign with the cross of St. George 
as well as streamers on the mast. Fig. 42 represents the 
seal of La Rochelle of the date 1437. It is interesting as 
showing that while in England, in Damme, in Paris (see 
the seal of the city of Paris of the year 1415) and else- 







where, the crescent-shaped ship with castles was in vogue, 
this town kept strenuously to the original Viking type. 
The bonnet with three rows of reefs is clearly indicated, 
and similarly the sheets and stays. 

We referred just now to the introduction of cannon as 
affecting the design of ships. At first they were placed 
on the upper deck and fired over the bulwarks, a modified 

Eavisado of cloths or wood being hung round to conceal 
oth guns and gunners. Next it was but an easy transi- 
tion to make a hole through the bulwarks and insert the 
cannon. Hence we have the origin of the word "gun- 
wale " for the top " wale *' or plank. Subsequently this 
introduction of cannon necessitated a much higher free- 
board, and in course of time tier above tier of guns, as in 
former times there had been tier above tier of rowers, 
came into being. Owing to the weight of the guns so far 
aloft an increase of beam became essential, but afterwards 
the exact opposite occurred. Lest the beams should be 
strained, considerable tumble-home or fall-inboard was 
made, so that the width of the upper deck became only 
about half of the greatest beam.* We shall see, too, how 
in later years this " tumble-home " was greatly exagge- 
rated. As to the effect of the new armament on a ship's 
rig, we shall be able to discuss this when we come to the 
bomb-ketch in Fig. 62. 

We have seen how the ships of England have developed 
into the crescent-shape by now. That, indeed, continued 
for some time, until the fashion came for bigger and more 
powerful ships under the Tudor regime. Practically with 
the end of the fifteenth century we bid farewell to the 
Viking influence as clearly expressed, although it were 
perhaps more correct to say that that design was not so 
much discarded in later years as absorbed : enlarged upon 
and modified rather than altogether supplanted. The first 

• See " Ancient and Modern Ships/' p. 74, b> Sir G. C* V. Holmes, 
London, I9OO. * 



important addition to the Viking design was that of the 
fighting castles. From thence it was not a great step to 
add decks, guns instead of bows and arrows, two masts 
instead of mie, and an increase of beam and subsequently 
of depth, >> 









ELIZABETH (1486-1608). 

E enter now upon a period that will 
always be memorable for the impetus 
given to maritime matters, and the 
consequent improvement that took 
place in sailing ships of all kinds. In 
the history of the latter there are 
two centuries that have witnessed 
the greatest developments in the pro- 
duction of that most beautiful of all 
things that man ever set himself to 
fashion out of wood or iron. The 
first of these eras was the sixteenth century, and the other 
was the nineteenth. But before we begin to consider the 
sixteenth, let us briefly sum up all that had been effected 
by the end of the fifteenth. 

We have seen how the early type that prevailed so 
long in England was that of the Vikings, whilst in the 
Mediterranean the galley and carack were collateral kinds 
of craft. Whilst it is true that after the Crusades 
England did eventually begin to build real ships, yet long 
before this time out of the ports of Venice, Genoa and 
Barcelona were sailing big carrying ships of three decks 


and of several hundred tons burthen. Of enormous free- 
board, the carack and caravel were more able to encounter 
bad weather and to remain in commission both winter and 
summer. Able, too, to carry considerable quantities of 
merchandise and large numbers of passengers with a fair 
chance of making port in safety, they were from the first 
destined to become the ideal ship for the trader in prefer- 
ence to the galley. In war-time the galley was more 
handy because she could be manoeuvred quickly with 
oars. But the carack and caravel, when guns were intro- 
duced, instantly exercised an undisputed superiority in 
another respect, for they could carry larger and more 
numerous cannon, and had .the commanding advantage of 
height, though they were in comparison with the galleys 
decidedly cumbrous. Slow in stays, top-heavy and 
decidedly uncomfortable, pitching into every sea, they 
were far from the ideal. Thus the galley (or its cousm 
the galleass) remained in existence for fighting, as distinct 
from merchant service, side by side until after the Armada. 
An effort was made to re-uitroduce the galley in the 
English Navy under Charles II., but though the galley 
flourished in the Mediterranean until the eighteenth 
century, it was doomed in England gradually but surely 
from the beginning of the fourteenth century. 

The Viking-like ships of England had gradually under- 
gone important changes. . Alfred had tried the experiment 
of building them of greater displacement, and this increase 
in size had gone on steadily after the time of William the 
Conqueror. Moreover, as we have seen, the development 
of the forecastle and stemcastle had prepared the English 
sailors for the logical outcome of these— the ship with two 
or three decks. At first a mere light scaffolding, castel- 
lated at the top and capable of being affixed to a merchant- 
ship on the declaration of war, these castles had in the 
march of time assumed a more permanent character. 
Instead of being mere supports lashed together, the 



framework became more solid, and the design of the ship 
was adapted to suit these structures — the sweep of the 
hull, as we have seen, coming up to meet the platform, 
which steadily became lower and lower and projected less 
forward until both fore- and stern-castle were essential 
portions of the vessel. 

But besides the knowledge that our forefathers had 
gained through studying the ships in the Mediterranean 
at the time of the Crusades and after, owing to the large 
carrying trade, some of the big ships from the three 
Mediterranean ports just mentioned were in the habit of 
coming into English waters with their merchandise of 
gold, silks and spices. Their stay here would not be too 
short for our shipwrights to study their build and archi- 
tecture. Here was a new kind of ship that but few had 
ever seen. Their cargo capacity and high freeboard, and 
the fact that they held a crew numerous enough to fight 

Eirates on even terms would instantly appeal to those who 
ad eyes to see. As soon as ever peace at home gave a 
sufficient encouragement, shipbuilding was bound to go 
ahead on these larger lines. Henry V., too, had actually 
in his navy some Genoese ships of this type, and by the 
middle of the fifteenth century merchant ships of 100 tons 
were not rare, and some of even 300 tons were in existence, 
and trading to the Mediterranean, the Baltic and Iceland. 
The galley was fast disappearing, and instead of the one- 
masted ship, by the end of the fifteenth century a big vessel 
of 800 tons with four masts and a bowsprit began to be built. 
The evolution of the number of masts was on this 
wise. When the single mast was multiplied two things 
happened. In the Mediterranean the additional mast 
forward of the main-mast had become the mdt de misaine 
(Italian mezzana=ioresB\\), or foremast. In Northern 
Europe the mast was added aft, but nevertheless called 
mizzen— still another instance of the confusion that has 
existed in nautical nomenclature. We know from the 


illustrations on old manuscripts of this period that vessels 
possessed as many as three and four masts, and this is 
further confirmed by the inventories still extant of 
Henry VII.'s ships. The same evidence proves the 
introduction by now of topmasts as fixed though separate 
spars. There is even one instance of a topgallant mast. 
Instead, therefore, of the old rig consisting of one large 
sail on the one mast there is — reckoning from forward to 
the stern — a spritsail on the bowsprit, a squaresail on the 
fore and main masts with one small topsail on each of these 
two masts, and a lateen or triangular-shaped sail on a yard, 
but with no boom of course, hoisted up the mizzen-mast 
The spritsail was a squaresail on a yard lowered from the 
end of the bowsprit. If the reader will look at the illustra- 
tion in Fig. 46 he will see a badly drawn, but none the less 
interesting, illustration of a carack of the beginning of the 
sixteenth century. The ship in the foreground is the 
Cordeliere. Though much of the bow end is not shown, 
there is sufficient to indicate how the fore- and stern- 
castles have come down to be part of the hull, and how the 
latter has been increased in length. The three masts will 
also be seen, though the bowsprit is not shown. The castel- 
lated structures have become large, roomy cabins. Guns 
will be seen on both the lower and main decks. It was about 
the end of the fifteenth century, also, that portholes were 
introduced, and the tiers in forecastle and poop reached 
as many as three. The guns in the ships of Henry VII. 
were serpentines, breach-loading, using lead, stone or iron 
ball. From the tops, picked men still hurled javelins or shot 
arrows from their bows on to the enemy's decks below. 

When Henry VII. ascended the English throne, the 
first real effort in the direction of an adequate national 
navy was made. It was a critical moment. The country's 
finances had been drained by the long-drawn out Wars of 
the Roses, so that her navy had been utterly and grievously 
neglected. Notwithstanding that under Henry V. it had 







increased to unprecedented strength — including as it did 
as many as thirty-eight vessels ranging from 400 to 600 
tons— yet on the death of this fifth Henry the thirty odd 
ships that remained were, disgraceful to relate, sold out of 
the service, and by 1430 the Enghsh Navy comprised only 
two or three dismantled hulks.* It is true that Henry V. 
had been at great pains to build ships, and Southampton 
Water and Hamble, the pretty little village on the river 
of the same name, were in those days as interested in his 
ships of war as to-day they are in the industry which 
yachting brings to both of these places. It is true, also, 
that Edward IV. had at various times during his reign 
bought some ships, including the Grace a Dim and Mary 
of the Tower, and the Martin Garsia, and that his suc- 
cessor, Richard III., had added to these three by the 
purchase of the Governor. These four indeed came into 
the possession of Henry VII. on his accession, but though 
the administration in his reign represented an effort 
rather than a complete reorganisation, yet it marked an 
important advance. He prepared the way for his successor 
Henry VIII., and showed his keen interest in the navy 
and maritime matters generally. But his especial good 
deed consisted in the building of two warships which were 
a considerable advance on any the country had previously 
possessed. Of these the Regent, of 600 tons, was inspired 
by French naval architecture. She was built on the 
Rother about 1490 and carried 225 serpentines. These 
guns were not of much avail in penetrating the enemy's 
sides, but they would be efficacious in destroying his sails 
and rigging and in sending a sweeping fire over his decks. 
She had a foremast, foretopmast, mainmast, maintopmast 
and main topgallant mast, main mizzen and bonaventure 

• " Naval Accounts and Inventories of the Reign of Henry VII.,'* edited 
by M. Oppenheim, Navy Records Society, 1896. I wish to acknowledge 
my indebtedness to this valuable volume for much information in con- 
nection with Henry VII.'s ships. 


mizzen.* Both mizzen-masts, having lateen sails, were 
without topmasts. From the bowsprit, as already de- 
scribed, there was a spritsail. This, as we saw in 
Chapter III., had its origin in the Roman ships. I think 
there can be little doubt but that the spritsail was the 
lineal descendant of the artemon. It was scarcely very 
wonderful that it survived so long, seeing that the galleys 
had remained but little altered since classical times. We 
must not forget that the rig of the squaresail ship originated 
in the Mediterranean, so that the spritsail would come 
most naturally to the aid of the ship for her head canvas. 
Similarly the lateen, being everywhere seen on the Medi- 
terranean and Nile — on feluccas and dhows alike — would 
be found at hand for the after canvas. The preference 
for a lateen sail for the mizzen was based on the reason 
that such a sail will hold a better wind — will sail at least 
a point closer to the breeze. Its position in the stern was 
to facilitate the steering. The Regents topmasts and top- 
gallant mast were separate spars fixed to the lower mast 
but could not be lowered or raised. The topgallant mast 
had a sail but no yard. It was not till many years after 
that the topgallant sails had yards. Mr. Masefield states 
that the topgallant sail began like a modern moonraker, 
IX. a triangular piece of canvas, setting from truck to the 
yard-arm of the topsail yard immediately below, t 

The Sovereign was of a similar type, though smaller. 
She had two decks in the forecastle, two in the summer- 
castle, and in the topgallant poop. What the summer- 
castle exactly was cannot be discovered, but Mr. Oppen- 
heim suggests the very probable theory that it was the 
poop royal. At any rate it commanded an all-round fire 

• In the Middle Ages it was the custom to refer to the masts of a 
ship possessing four in the manner as above. The after-most was the 

t "On the Spanish Main," by John Masefield, London, 1906. See 
chap, xvi., on " Ships and Rigs." 





and carried many guns- We shall see as we proceed how 
strong the tendency was in the sixteenth century to raise 
the poop to enormous heights. The Sovereign had no 
main topgallant mast as the Regent possessed. All the 
armament of both ships was carried m the waist, in the 
decks of the summercastle and poop, but there was no real 
gun-deck. With all this top-hamper, there is no wonder 
that the Santa Maria, Columbus' ship, pitched so terribly. 
But in spite of the guns, a considerable part of the fighting 
was entrusted to the archers. Mr. Oppenheim mentions 
that the Sovereign had on board 200 bows and 800 sheaves 
of arrows, and but small quantities of gunpowder and 

When the Regent and Sovereign were launched at the 
end of the fifteaith century the sensation which they 
caused can scarcely have been inferior to that in our 
own times made by the launch of the Ih-eadnought and 
Bellerophon. The country had never produced such ships 
before in size and equipment But just as it would have 
been impossible for our builders or designers to have sud- 
denly brought a Dreadnought into being, so in the case 
of the Sovereign and the Regent what was seen was the 
result of gradual progress. The fifteenth century ship- 
v^ights and architects had step by step been feeling their 
way to higher achievements, and had the Wars of the 
Roses never occurred there can be little doubt but that 
these big ships would have been launched in an earlier 

The standards flown by the ships of this period were of 
white linen cloth, with red crosses of "say *^(i.^., woollen 
cloth). The streamers with which they were wont to 
decorate their vessels in a somewhat profuse manner were 
also of linen cloth or " say.** The Regent had no gilding 
or carving, except a gilt crown. Nor was any great 
expense made on the score of paint, for we find a record 
of the painting of the Regent and another ship called the 
176 ^ 













Fig. 44. A FiFrtENTH-CENTUuv Cahavel. 


Mary Fortune. The whole job was done by contract for 
the sum of £2 19^. lOcJ. The davits, both of this period 
and for many years after, were used not for hoisting the 
ship's boats aboard — which was done by means of tackles 
with poles and sheaves of brass — but for getting up the 
anchors. There were both fixed davits and movable ones 
that could be used in different parts of the ship. Most of 
the timber came from the New Forest and Bere Forest, 
not far from Portsmouth. Iron was bought by the ton 
and worked up at the royal forge into nails and spikes, &c. 
In 1497 two smaller men-of-war, named respectively 
the Sweepstake and the Mary Fortune, were built. But 
these were much smaller than the other two, and carried 
three lower masts, a main topmast, as well as a spritsail 
on the bowsprit. The Grace d Dieu, which Henry had 
inherited on his accession to the throne, was renamed the 
Harry Grace a Dieu. She is said to have cost £14,000, 
to have had four pole masts, each with a circular top, a 
bowsprit, a built-up poop and forecastle, as well as two 
complete and two partial tiers of guns mounted in ports.* 
The late Sir W. Laird Clowes inclined to the belief that 
the drawing of the Harry Grace d Dieu in the Pepysian 
Library, Cambridge, represents not the ship of the same 
name built in the reign of Henry VIII., but that of which 
we are now speaking. By the beginning of Henry VIII. s 
reign she had either disappeared or was known under a 
new name. 

It was for a long time the custom of English monarchs 
in times of peace to let out on hire the royal ships to 
merchants. Nor did Henry VII. break away from this 
practice. Apart altogether from the importance which 
big ships possessed from a naval point of view, it was a 
profitable speculation to build large vessels. Merchants 
were glad to hire them, since it saved the necessity of 

• See article by W. Laird Clowes in vol. ii. of Traill and Mann's 
" Social England/' London, 1901. 

u 177 



Fi(i. II. A I'll ri kntii-Ckniihv Cxhwki- 



Mary Fortune, The whole job was done by contract for 
the sum of £2 19^. lOcJ. The davits, both of this period 
and for many years after, were used not for hoisting the 
ship's boats aboard — which was done by means of tackles 
with poles and sheaves of brass — but for getting up the 
anchors. There were both fixed davits and movable ones 
that could be used in different parts of the ship. JMost of 
the timber came from the New Forest and Bere Forest, 
not far from Portsmouth. Iron was bought by the ton 
and worked up at the royal forge into nails and spikes, &c. 

In 1497 two smaller men-of-war, named respectively 
the Sweepstake and the Marij Fortune, were built. But 
these were much smaller than the other two, and carried 
three lower masts, a main topmast, as well as a spritsail 
on the bowsprit. The Grace d Bieu, which Henry had 
inherited on his accession to the throne, was renamed the 
Harry Grace a Dieu. She is said to have cost £14,000, 
to have had four pole masts, each with a circular top, a 
bowsprit, a built-up poop and forecastle, as well as two 
complete and two partial tiers of guns mounted in ports.* 
The late Sir W. Laird Clowes inclined to the belief that 
the drawing of the Harry Grace d Dieu in the Pepysian 
Library, Cambridge, represents not the ship of the same 
name built in the reign of Henry VIII., but that of which 
we are now speaking. By the beginning of Henry VIII.'s 
reign she had either disappeared or was known under a 
new name. 

It was for a long time the custom of English monarchs 
in times of peace to let out on hire the royal ships to 
merchants. Nor did Henry VII. break away from this 
practice. Apart altogether from the importance which 
big ships possessed from a naval point of view, it was a 
profitable speculation to build large vessels. Merchants 
were glad to hire them, since it saved the necessity of 

• See article by W. Laird Clowes in vol. ii. of Traill and Mann's 
''Social England/' J.ondun, l.QOl. 

M 177 


having to build for themselves or of keeping them in com- 
mission when their voyages were ended. The larger the 
tonnage of the ship the more popular were they to the 
hirers, for the reason that they not only held more cargo 
and were less likely to succumb to pirates, but that they 
could voyage to virgin fields where trade could be estab- 
lished. Henry, in addition to the ships he had inherited 
and built, also hired some himself, both from his subjects 
and the Spanish. He even went so far as to purchase 
some vessels from the latter, but Spain eventually legis- 
lated to prevent Spanish-owned ships from being sold to 
foreign Powers. 

We find references in the naval accounts of this reign 
to caulking with "ocum"; also to the "crane line," 
which led from the sprit mast to the forestay, and steadied 
the former. Among the details preserved to us concern- 
ing the Grace d ZHeu we find that she had three bonnets 
for the mainsail, the lacing that secured the bonnet to the 
foot of the sail (after the manner adopted by the Vikings) 
being called "latchetes." There is a considerable simi- 
larity between the nautical terms of this period and of 
our own time. Corks were used for buoying anchors ; 
" deadmen's eyes " (deadeyes, as we now call them, through 
which the lanyards of the shrouds are passed), " painters " .| 
(Mr. Oppenheim derives this familiar word from the old 
French pantiere, meaning a noose) ; hawse, used in its old 
sense, to mean the bows of a vessel — hence our modern 
expression " athwart hawse," meaning across the bows — 
these, as well as others, were in daily use among sailormen. 
We find mention of the fact that the Grace d JDieu had 
" a shefe (i.e., a sheave or pulley-wheel) of brasse in the 
bootes halse." There were not always bulwarks or rails 
to ships of this age, and sometimes before going into 
action a cable was coiled round about the deck breast high 
in the waist, bedding and mattresses being also requisitioned 
as protection against the enemy's fire. 


As to other details of equipment, we have mention of 
these ships possessing running glasses, i.e. sand glasses for 
the use of the log which time has not even now wholly 
abolished in spite of the patent log on saiUng ships. Out- 
riggers, or as they were called, " outliggers," " bitakles," 
(i.e., binnacles), "merlyng irens," {i.e., marlin spikes) were 
also in use. By 1514 at any rate, the usual length of a 
sounding line appears to be forty fathoms. There were 
winches apparently on the Sovereign, for we find mention 
of the " wheles for to wynde up the Mayne Sayle." In 
order that the large square sails should set as flat as 
possible, bowlines played an important part during this 
century and after. In the case of very large sails, the 
weight on the tack was relieved to some extent by adding 
lufF hooks and chains. As will be remarked in the 
illustration of the Cordeliere, in Fig. 46, pavesses, or 
wooden shields bearing the devices or coats of arms, 
were placed along the ship's waist, and sometimes too, 
on the forecastle and poop. The reader will recognise 
them as being survivals from the times when the Viking 
sea-chiefs hung their shields along the bulwarks. At a 
later stage we shall see these shields giving way to the 
waist cloth as a protection for this part of the ship. 

It was under Henry VII. that the bounty system for 
encouraging ship-builders was introduced. It was during 
his reign, too, that Portsmouth Dockyard was founded, 
and that at this port the first dry dock was built in 
England, and the Sovereign was the first ship known to 
have gone into it. We find among the Naval Accounts 
of Henry VII., a record that on the tenth of October in 
the first year of his reign, the Grace d, Dieu was docked at 
Hamble, or, as it was then known, Hamill. But 
Mr. Oppenheim points out that this docking here meant 
merely getting the ship high and dry on to the mud and 
then surrounding her with a fence of brushwood. The 
popularity which, during the fifteenth century, Hamble 


A r- 


had shared with Southampton, was decreasing as soon as 
ships of the size of the Regent and Sovereign were built. 
Perhaps it was owing to the lack of water in this river 
that the Portsmouth dry dock was made. 

All the time the unhappy Wars of the Roses had been 
wasting England's energy and finances, the people in the 
south-west corner of Europe were prospering exceedingly. 
Whilst England was at a standstill as regards develop- 
ment, Spain and Portugal were going rapidly ahead in 
maritime matters. They had acquired an immense amount 
of nautical knowledge from the Venetians and Genoese, 
and until the time came for England to wake up and set 
her house in order, Portugal was taking the lead in 
voyages of exploration. When Columbus set forth in 
1492 on the voyage that led to the discovery of the West 
Indies, his fleet comprised his flagship, the Santa Maria, 
and two other caravels named respectively the Nina and 
the Pinta. We find that the Santa Maria proved to be 
" a dull sailer and unfit for discovery."* This statement 
is entirely borne out by Captain D. V. Concas.t For 
from historical data, a replica of the Santa Maria was 
built at Carraca by Spanish workmen in 1893, for the 
Chicago Exhibition. She was sailed across the Atlantic 
on her own bottom the same year with a Spanish crew. 
The course taken was exactly that followed by Columbus 
on his first voyage. The time occupied was thirty-six 
days, and the maximum speed obtained was about 6J 
knots. Captain Concas, who was in charge of her, 
reported that she pitched horribly. The illustration in 
Fig. 48 represents a caravel of this period, and will give 
the reader a general idea of the ships of this time. This 

• See " Christopher Columbus and the New World of his Discovery," 
by Filson Young, London, 1906. The reader is especially advised to 
study an admirable article in vol, ii. of this work on " The Navigation of 
Columbus's First Voyage," by the Earl of Dunraven. 

t See "Ancient and Modern Ships," by Sir G. C. V. Holmes. 



is from a photograph of a model made by Mr. Frank H. 
Mason, R.B.A., and exhibited in the Franco-British 
Exhibition of 1908. It has since been presented by 
Lloyd's to the South Kensington Museum. The colour- 
ing of the underbody is quite correct, for we find mention 
of the " white bellies '* of the Spanish ships of the six- 
teenth century being seen coming over the billows. The 
yard on the bowsprit for the spritsail should not be shown 
as a fixture for another hundred years later. The yards 
of the lower courses will be observed, and two topsails 
with fighting-tops and the lateen yard will be noticed aft. 
The rest of the rigging, including the stays and braces, are 
so clear as to need little comment further, except that the 
forestay should be provided with crane-lines as in Fig. 45. 
The cresset or lantern is shown in its correct place over the 
stem. A cresset was, strictly speaking, a hollow vessel for 
holding a light, and carried upon a pole. The light was 
produced from a wreathed rope smeared with pitch or rosin. 
The development now reached by the forecastle, and the 
tendency to exaggerate the height of the poop which 
became in Spanish galleons even higher still, arc worthy 
of the reader's attention. Fig. 44 is from a photograph of 
the caravel model in the Royal United Service Museum, 
Whitehall. This is by no means an accurate model and 
is only put forward as an interesting representation of the 
manner of mounting the guns in these days, and showing 
how tubby in proportion to their length such ships some- 
times were. It shows fairly accurately the proportion also 
to which the sides of the hull just above the water-line 
projected as compared with the narrow beam on deck. 
Whereas we saw m the illustration of the bucco in Fig. 35 
a fighting-top of slender basket-work, we have now a much 
more solid structure. No topsails are shown here, but 
Columbus's ship carried a main-topsail. Mr. Mason's 
model shows a fore-topsail which was certainly carried on 
ships of this time, though not on the Santa Maria. The 



Whitehall model should not carry the heavy figurehead, 
and a bowsprit should of course be shown. The topmasts 
are also too long. Falconers "Marine Dictionary" 
derives the caravel from the Spanish word caravela as 
** a light, round, old-fashioned ship with a square poop, 
formerly used in Spain and Portugal." * Levi derives the 
word as from either carabos, meaning a kind of lobster, or 
from cara-bella, meaning a beautiful shape, in reference, of 
course, to the lines of her hull, f 

In Fig. 45 will be found a reproduction of what is 
probably the only accurate model of the Santa Maria in 
existence. This has been constructed by Captain C. E. 
Terry, who has made it his hobby for some years to gather 
together every item of information in connection with 
Columbus's ship. For this purpose he has searched all 
through Southern Europe in order to collect every detail, 
and through his courtesy I am enabled for the first time 
to show this interesting little ship, which the reader may 
regard as approaching as nearly to accuracy as possible at 
this late date. The sails with the Papal and Maltese 
crosses, the flag of Ferdinand and Isabella flying above, 
the crucifix over the stern, the crane lines, the braces, 
sheets and other gear may be taken as reliable. The 
bonnet and drabbler will be found on the mainsail. On 
deck the brick-made cooking-galley, and the capstan, 
though not decipherable from the photograph, have been 
correctly placed. A careful examination of the lead oi 
the gear will explain the rigging more quickly than by 
detailing every rope individually. 

Not all the Spanish ships were rigged with square- 
sails. Indeed, the lateen sail in the Mediterranean gave 
way reluctantly to the rectangular shape, as is only 
natural in the seas so dominated by the felucca rig. 
Columbus's ship, which was reconstructed according to 
every known source of information, had of course a lateen 

• London, 1830. t "Navi Venete." 











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^ti -hi ,«.3 

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ft O 

'If*': li ' i' 

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Fig. 46. The French Shh* "Cordelikre" in the Foreground, with 
THE English "Regent" in the Background, on Fire off Brest. 

p. 183. 


mizzen. She was three-masted, having a square mainsail 
with topsail of much smaller size, but " goaring^ but con- 
siderably from a small yard. On the foremast was a square 
course but no topsail, while from the bowsprit was carried 
a square spritsail. In Mr. Filson Young's work already 
referred to, the interesting fact is mentioned that after 
Columbus and his three ships had set forth they had to 
put into Grand Canary for a neisi rydder to be made for 
the PiTiiiii, and that while they were waiting for this to be 
done the rig of the Nina was changed from lateen to 
squaresaiLJike that of the Santa Maria, so that the Nina 
might^be^ able to keep up with the others. For a ship ^ 
that was about to cross the wide ocean of the Atlantic no '^ 
sailorman nowadays would dispute this wise proceeding 
on the part of Columbus. As to the relative size of these< 
ships the Santa Maria was of about one hundred tons 
burthen, 9C feet long and 20 feet beam. Other accounts 
make her slightly larger, an J she carried a crew numbering 
fifty-two. The Nina was a much smaller ship of about 

forty tons. 

Inasmuch as we are studying not so much the history 
of voyages as of the ships that actually carried the voyagers 
there is not here the scope to enter into a discussion of 
the reasons that prompted Columbus to go West. But 
it may not be out of place to point to the fact that it was 
no mere haphazard undertaking. We mentioned in an 
earlier chapter that the Vikings who colonised Iceland in 
a previous century also sailed further on from there to the 
American Continent. Now Columbus had visited Iceland 
and may in all probability have heard of the tradition that 
there was land to the far west across the seas. As Lord 
Dunraven mentions, Columbus knew that the world was 
more or less round, and that consequently the more he 
sailed West the nearer he would come to the well-known 
regions of the East. We must remember, too, that for 
some time the Portuguese and Spaniards had been applying 






themselves to the study of charts and the science of navi- 
gation. Columbus, himself, was a mapmaker, and a man 
with a scientific mind. But besides all this there was the 
story of the "unknown pilot," whose ship having been 
blown from Spain or Portugal across the Atlantic had 
reached new land. Taking these considerations in con- 
junction with an age almost bursting with energy, that 
was thirsting for knowledge only to be obtained through 
adventure and perseverance, it was inevitable that the New 
World should be discovered. 

As to the navigational instruments Columbus had with 
him a compass divided into 300" and 32 points as to-day, 
although the points were named somewhat differently. 
Nor was he prevented through lack of knowledge from 
taking observations of the sun. He had a cross-staflf, a 
quadrant and a sea astrolabe. The voyage five years 
later of John Cabot, an Italian, to the mainland of America 
with a Bristol ship and Bristol sailors ; of Vasco de Gama 
doubUng the Cape of Good Hope en route to India, and 
of other enterprising and courageous navigators could only 
have the effect of influencing the subsequent building of 
ships of greater tonnage and seaworthiness. 

One of the largest ships of this time was the French 
Ccyrdeliere in Fig. 46. Although it is not quite safe to rely 
too much on the reported tonnage of these mediaeval vessels, 
hers has been assessed at 700 while the Regent and the 
Sovereign have been estimated at 1000 each. Another 
famous contemporary French ship was the Grand Louise of 
790 tons. The latter was a four-master. She had pavesses 
around her like those on the Cordeliere, Cannon were 
carried on her deck. Her mainsail was decorated with a 
shield device, whilst the main-mizzen and the bonaventure 
mizzen carried lateen-sails. In the illustration just men- 
tioned the Cordeliere is in the foreground, the ship behind 
being the Regent While the latter was attacking the French 
ship off Brest at the beginning of Henry VIII. s reign 


both vessels caught fire and became a total loss. Our illus- 
tration, which is taken from a MS. in the Biblioth^ue 
Nationale, shows this mournful incident depicted. 

Not entirely had the galley disappeared yet. In a 
warrant dated January 29, 1510,* we find mention of 
caracks, galleys, row-barges, hulks, barks (great barks and 
" lesse barks "), ships and crayers. The latter were vic- 
tualling ships. Tnus when the Sovereign sailed from 
Portsmouth she had with her the Trinity of Wight (80 
tons), the James of London (80 tons) and the Katherine 
Pomegranate as her victuallers. We find in this warrant 
also mentioned "twyne, merling (marlin), ropes, cables, 
cabletts (these were used for the mainstay), boyes (buoys), 
lynes, tacks, lists, toppe-armers, stremers, standards, com- 
passes, ronnyng glasses (sand-glasses for the log), lanterns, 
she vers of bras, poleys, shrowdes " and other " taclyng." 
The same warrant directs the building of the Mary Rose 
of 400 tons and the Peter Pomegranate of 800 tons. The 
former foundered at Spithead in the year 1545. 

It was in 1514 that the famous Henri Crrace d Dieu^ 
commonly known as the " Great Harry," was built. The 
custom having recently grown up of passing on the name 
of an obsolete ship to her successor, and of reserving special 
names for the largest class and still further of embodymg in 
it the name also of the ruling sovereign, it was but natural 
that this great " Harry " should be so named. Of the avail- 
able illustrations of this ship that shown here in Fig. 47 
and reproduced from Holbein's painting in Hampton 
Court Palace, is perhaps the most reliable. The incident 
depicted is the embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover, 
on May 81, 1520, to meet Francis I. at the Field of the 
Cloth of Gold. Besides this picture there exists another 
which hung for many years in Canterbury Cathedral, and 
is supposed to represent this vessel. It was afterwards 

• See "Letters and Papers relating to the War with France^ 1512- 
1513/* by Alfred Spont, Navy Records Society, 1897. 





presented by the Dean to Sir John Norris, Admiral of 
the Fleet, who died in 1749. In 1750 an engraving was 
made by Allen, and a copy is to be found in the Pnnt 
Room of the British Museum. The original of Allen's 
engraving has been ascribed to Holbein, but it seems 
pretty certain that this print depicts, not the "Great 
Harry " of the reign of Henry VIII., but a ship of later 
date. Nor, as we have mentioned above, does it seem 
probable that the Henri Grace d Dieu in the Pepysian 
Library represents this vessel. 

The Henri Grace d Dieu of the time of Henry VIII. 
had four masts with two decks and topgallant sails on fore, 
main and main-mizzen masts. On the bonaventure mizzen 
she carried a topsail above the lateen but no topgallant. 
The fore and main masts had topsails as well. Happily 
her inventory is still extant and will be found in Mr. 
Oppenheim's volume on the administration of the Navy 
of the reign of Henry VIII.* Her tonnage was 1500, 
and she represents still another advance in the construction 
of big ships. Her launching one day in the middle of 
June had been a memorable ceremony, in the presence of 
the Court, the ambassadors of both the Emperor and the 
Pope, as well as a distinguished crowd of bishops and 
nobles. Her armament, according to her existing inven- 
tory of 1514, included 184 pieces of ordnance, of which 126 
were brass and iron serpentines. ; 

Two more of Henry VIII.'s ships will be seen in 
Figs. 48 and 49. Both have been photographed from 
the coloured drawings of " The RoUe declaryng^ the 
Nombre of the Kynges Maiestys owne Galliasses" by 
Anthony Anthony in the Pepysian Library of Magdalene 
College, Cambridge. The date of the roll is 1546, one 
part being now in the British Museum and the other half 

• "A History of the Administration of the Royal Navy and of 
Merchant Shipping in Relation to the Navy," vol. i., 1509-l660, by 
M. Oppenheim, London, 1896. 





5 a 

X X 


a: o 

s c 




®^Mi:ofS^ iifXMvuCi^of^^cmi <i\ii\i^\'x>\^*v '<C^^.<^4 


Fig. 48. The " Murrian." Fig. 49. The " Struse. 


in the Pepysian Library, as stated. Originally, both rolls 
belonged to Samuel Pepys. Quaint as these representa- 
tions are, they are contemporary records and of some real 
interest to us. The Murrian, in Fig. 48, was brought 
into the Royal Navy in 1545 and sold out in 1551. Her 
tonnage was 500, and she had 300 men, 10 brass guns 
and 53 iron guns. The reader will notice the manner 
of stowing the spritsail which is correctly shown. Along 
the waist of the vessel the pavesses can just be discerned. 
The netting spread over the ship's deck was as a protection 
against the enemy's missiles dropped from the fighting- tops. 
Astern the ship's biggest boat is seen towing, as was the 
custom when at sea, except in bad weather, " much as one 
may see a brig or a topsail schooner to-day with a dinghy 
dragging astern." * The boat's coxswain stayed in her as 
she towed, keeping her clean, fending her off, and looking 
out for any of the crew who happened to tumble overboard./ 
The Struse of Dawske (Le. Danzig) in Fig. 49, had been 
purchased in 1544, and was sold out of the service the 
same year as the Murrian. She was very similar to the 
other ship but slightly smaller. Her tonnage was 450, 
she carried 250 men, 39 iron guns, but none of brass. 

Another ship in this roll called the Jesus of Lubeck, 
being of 700 tons, having been purchased by Henry VIII. 
from the merchants of Lubeck in 1544, shows steel sickle- 
shaped bill-hooks affixed to the yard arms, so that in battle 
she could sail alongside the enemy and tear his rigging to 
pieces, but it was inevitable that the aggressor would injure 
himself scarcely less than his foe, and these hooks had dis- 
appeared before the end of the century, though their origin 
was of great antiquity. (See also Fig. 56.) 

From a delightful volume f of this reign entitled the 

• " On the Spanish Main," by John Masefield, chap, xvi., on " Ships 
and Rigs." 

t Reprinted in "The Naval Miscellany," edited by Professor Sir 
J. K, Laughton, M.A., R.N., vol. i.. Navy Records Society, 1902. 


p. 187. 



** Book of War by Sea and by Land," by Jehan Bjrtharne, 
Gunner in Ordinary to the King, and bearing date 1543, 
we are able to verify the truth of the vain display of flags 
seen in the illustrations of the Murrian and Struse, There 
is so much interesting matter contained in this work 
respecting contemporary ships that I make no apology to 
the reader for dealing with its contents at some length. 
Although the earliest code of signals belonged to about 
1340 and was given out for the guidance of the fleets at 
Sluys, yet we have now much more elaborate directions. 

Bytharne tells us just what we want to know about the 
decoration of the ships of his time. The external orna- 
mentation from the mainwale to the top of the castles 
ought to be painted, he says, with the colours and devices 
of the admiral. Likewise the forecastle and after-castle 
were to be decorated as splendidly as possible. All the 
shields — as we saw in the Cordeliire — round the upper 
part of the castles were to be emblazoned with the 
admiral's arms and devices also. Above the forecastle on 
a staff* inclining forwards was to be a (pennon) of the 
admiral's colours and devices, as also at the two corners of 
the castle. Amidships there should be two square banners, 
emblazoned with the admiral's arms, and on the after-castle 
high above the rudder he was to have a large square 
banner larger than any of the others. From the maintop 
a broad swallow-tailed standard was to be flown, of such 
a length as to reach to the water, and emblazoned with 
the admiral's arms and devices also. 

For celebrating a triumph the ship was to be covered 
in and curtained with rich cloth and draped. " You may 
also paint your sails with such devices and colours as you 
choose, or with the representation of a saint if you prefer 
it." Then follow the signals to be employed for sum- 
moning the captains of the ships to come aboard the 
flagship. If a strange ship were espied, this was to be 
signalled by putting a square banner in a weft in the 


shrouds half-way up on that side on which the strange 
ship was seen. At sunset all the ships of the fleet were 
to pass ahead of the admiral's ship and to shout three 
times, one after the other, and if they had trumpets they 
were to be sounded. At the third shout the master of 
the admiral's ship was to return the salute " causing all 
those of your ship to shout and the trumpets and drums 
to sound." And each ship as she made the salute was 
to ask for the watchword for the night and what course to 
steer. These having been given, the ships were all to 
drop astern again, and not pass ahead of the flagship 
dunng the night on pain of severe punishment. 

Nor to any one gifted with imagination and a love of 
the beautiful can the following picture make an ineffectual 
appeal. For, after the above instructions had been 
carried out, the admiral was to cause to be sung the 
evening hymn to our Lady before her image, after which 
all lights were to be put out except those in the cabins of 
the gentlemen, who may have lamps trimmed with water 
covered with oil, but neither candles nor any other kind 
of light, owing to the risk of fire. The grandeur of these 
old ships with their plentifiil freeboard towering high 
above water, pitching backw^ards and forwards to the 
swell of the sea, their highly coloured hulls lit up by the 
last rays of a glowing sunset, and the strong rough voices 
of the crew singing their solemn plain-chant as the 
freshening breeze wafted it to leeward — such an incident 
would have impressed itself on our minds scarcely less 
forcibly than the massive Mauretama to-day racing over 
the Atlantic eastward with the sun sinking astern, her 
masthead, port and starboard lights showmg, while the 
rich notes of a grand piano come floating out from the 
luxurious drawing-room. 

The admiral was further to appoint persons whc 
should see that all the crew not kept up on duty were to 
retire — soldiers and officers aUke. At the stern of the 



ship a cresset with flaming combustibles was to bum so 
that every one might recognise the admiral's ship and 
follow, no other vessel being allowed to carry such a fire. 
But if the fleet contained a vice-admiral, he was allowed 
to carry just such a light, but the admiral must then 
carry two instead of one. The ship was also to carry a 
large lantern in which were three or four great lamps with 
great lights to make a powerful illumination. The use of 
this lantern in place of the cresset was when the wind was 
blowing hard or from astern, and it became necessary to 
put out the cresset lest the ship should catch fire. At 
break of day the " two nimble ships " which sailed some 
distance ahead of the fleet were to come back and salute 
the admiral as at nightfall. They were then to take their 
orders for the day, go on ahead again and keep just in 
sight. At sunrise a fanfare was to be sounded on the 
trumpets, the other ships to salute as at sunset, the 
admiraFs ship keeping under easy sail until they had done 
so. Then " at such hour of the morning as shall please 
you your chaplain" is to say a dry Mass.* 

For his interest in the Navy, England owes a debt to 
Henry VIII. Under him it became a separate, organised 
force instead of being a mere auxiliary of the army. 
About eighty vessels and thirteen row-barges of twenty 
tons were added during his reign to the ships inherited 
from his predecessor. Many were purchased from the 
Venetians and the Hanseatic League, who were the great 
merchant seamen of this time. Some also were prizes 
taken from the enemy, but about forty odd were actually 
built during this reign, among which may be mentioned 
the Tiger y which was flush-decked without any super- 
structures and heavily armed ; and the Ann Gallant. 
Whereas clinker-built vessels had been almost universal 
from the times of the Vikings, carvel-built ships were now 

• This was the Missa Sicca (Messe S^che), the *' Messe Navale," or 
" Missa Nautica," in which no consecration took place. 



being used, as being both stronger and faster. Coloured 
cloths were put round the fighting-tops, and the hulls, 
besides being carved and gilded, were painted various 
colours. Sometimes the Tudor colours of green and 
white were seen, but ash and timber shafts became 
common under Elizabeth. In the ships of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries the yellow colour above the 
waterline of our ships was more pronounced. The crews 
of Henry VIII.'s ships wore the Tudor colours of white 
and green also, cloth being used for the sailors and satin 
or damask for the officers.* 

Under Edward VI. the power of the Hanseatic League 
began gradually to wane, and consequently the superiority 
which in respect of ships it had possessed over those of 
our nation became less marked. Perhaps no maritime 
incident of this reign is more interesting than the prepara- 
tion, the setting out, and the partial accomplishment of 
the voyage from our shores to discover a passage by way 
of Archangel to China. Those who know their Hakluyt 
will agree that few yarns written nowadays by either 
professional or amateur sailormen are so absorbingly inte- 
resting as this record : those who have still to read this 
record will enjoy it thoroughly. It is not possible here to 
give even a summary of this lengthy voyage, in which Sir 
Hugh Willoughby and his crew perished of cold and 
starvation, though Richard Chancellor reached as far 
as Archangel. But there are some details given in the 
account that are pertinent to our inquiry of the sailing 
ship. Among the instructions given to the voyagers were 
that the fleet should keep together as far as possible. A 
log was to be kept by day and night, " with the points and 
observation of the lands, tides, elements, altitude of the 
sunne, course of the moon and starres." The fleet com- 

• See " Companion to English History (Middle Ages)," edited by 
F. P. Barnard, M.A., F.S.A., Oxford, 1902; article on "Shipping," by 
M. Oppenheim. 



prised the Bona Esperanza, flagship, of 120 tons, "having 
with her a pinnesse and a boate," the Edward Bonaventure, 
160 tons, and the Bona Confidential 90 tons, the last two 
ships having the same number of boats as the first. Theii 
progress down the Thames was not rapid, for it took them 
from the tenth of May till the twenty-second to get from 
Ratcliffe to Hole Haven. They could not sail nearer to 
the wind than seven points, for the statement is made that 
'* the wind veared to the West, so that we could lie but 
North and by West.* Approaching a strange harbour, 
they would first send forth the ship s " pinnesse " before 
entering. They were not long in discovering that " the 
land lay not as the Globe made mention." The " Con- 
fidence being troubled with bilge water, we thought it 
good to seeke harbour for her redresse." 

The cost of purchasing these three ships was £6000 
according to another account also included in Hakluyt, 
and written by one, Clement Adams, who praises very 
highly the " very strong and well seasoned plankes for the 
building," as well as the skill of the shipwrights who 
" calke them, pitch them, and among the rest they make 
one most stanch and firme, by an excellent and ingenious 
invention." This invention is that " they cover a piece of 
the keele of the shippe with thin sheetes of leade, for they 
had heard that in certaine parts of the Ocean a kinde of 
wormes is bredde, which many times pearceth and eateth 
through the strongest oake that is." The reader will 
recollect that this " invention " was known to the inhabi- 
tants of the Mediterranean for many hundreds of years 
before this.t The same writer states that when they 
departed from Ratcliffe " upon the ebbe " " with the turning 

• Manwayring, who fought in the English Fleet against the Armada, 
states that a ** cross-sail " (square-rigged) ship in a sea cannot sail nearer 
than six points, unless there be tide or current setting her to windward. 

t See chap. iii. p. 78. This revival in Edward VI.'s time of lead 
sheathing was copied from the contemporary custom among Spanish ships. 


















of the water" the "greater shippes" were "towed 
downe with boates, and oares, and the mariners being 
apparelled in watehet or skie coloured cloth, rowed 
amaine." The Court being at Greenwich they fired a 
salute while " one stoode in the poope of the ship, and by 
his gesture bids farewell to his mendes . . . another 
walkes upon the hatches, another climbes the shrowds, 
another stands upon the maine yard, and another in the 
top of the shippe." When they arrived at Harwich, to 
Chancellor's dismay, part of the victuals were found to be 
" corrupt and putrified " " and the hoggesheads of wine 
also leaked, and were not stanch." 

During the reign of Mary the fishing and coasting 
traffic flourished, but it is when we enter upon the reign 
of Elizabeth that we find the greatest encouragement 
given. It was she who repealed all existing restrictions 
in connection with navigation laws, so that merchants 
were allowed to use whatever ships they possessed, whether 
foreign or English-built. More sensible and far-sighted 
than some of our modern legislators, she was wise enough 
to restrict the coasting trade to British ships. In this 
reign, too, telescopes were invented, Mercator s chart of 
the world completed, the art of navigation developed, 
hydrography taken up seriously, the harbours of England 
and estuaries well surveyed, pilotage and buoyage syste- 
matised and placed under the care of the corporation of 
Trinity House. The variation of the compass had been 
already observed by Columbus and Cabot, but under 
Elizabeth the matter was given serious study. 

The carrying trade, which for so long a time between 
England and the Mediterranean had been the monopoly 
of ships belonging to Venice or Genoa or Spain, now 
belongs exclusively to English vessels. Our shipwrights, 
too, were building craft of finer lines and longer on the 
keel. Hawkins, perhaps the ablest shipbuilder of the 
reign and a practical seaman who had roved over the seas 

N 193 


as pirate and slave-hunter too, was foremost in designing 
ships on what were then new principles.-- He it was who 
recognised that the enormously high poops and forecastles 
of the prevailing type were as unnecessary as they were 
unwieldy. These were cut down considerably, and the 
reader will notice the changes effected if he will compare 
the illustration of the Ark Royal in Fig. 50 with that of 
a Spanish galleon in Fig. 55. Practical test was made of 
the new type as soon as the Armada came sailing up the 
English Channel in July of 1588, with the usual south- 
west wind blowing. Howard's ships sailed closehauled 
out of Plymouth, succeeded in getting to windward of 
the Spanish craft, and keeping out of range of their guns, 
his own ordnance being of much longer range, poured a 
terrific fire into the enormous freeboard of the enemy, 
who found themselves at once both outsailed and out- 

By adding also to the draught of water the Elizabethans 
were making their ships more weatherly and less likely to 
roll in a seaway. Among other advantages arising from 
this would be better marksmanship than could ever be 
obtained on a galleon pitching her head into every sea 
and making good gunnery almost impossible except in 
calms. An interesting comparison is possible when we 
mention that the new English ships possessed a length 
three and a half times their beam ; nevertheless, the galley 
had been about seven times the breadth. Besides the 
green and white colours, Elizabethan ships were also 
painted outside black and white, red, or the timber-colour 
previously mentioned. Figureheads, consisting of a 
dragon or a lion, were in vogue, and carved figures of 
men and beasts decorated also the interior. Cabins were 
painted and upholstered in green and white, whilst at the 
stern the royal arms were displayed in gold and colours. 
Sir Walter Raleigh in his "Judicious and Select Essayes 
and Observations," printed in London in 1650, refers to 


the recent invention of topmasts, which could be lowered 
or raised instead of being kept permanently fixed as 
hitherto had been the custom. He describes these as 
being ** a wonderfuU great ease to great ships, both at sea 
and harbour."* He also mentions as recent innovations 
chain pumps, studding sails, top-gallant sails and the 
weighing of the anchor by means of the capstan, and the 
introduction of the bonnet on the lower courses. But as 
to these last two items he is quite incorrect. The bonnet 
had existed at least from the Viking times, and we saw it 
on some of the seals. But below the bonnet was now 
laced on another called a drabbler. Instead of reefing as 
nowadays by taking in the foot of the sail, the drabbler 
would be unlaced, for one or two reefs, and the bonnet 
removed for a close reef. The yard would then be lowered 
away some distance from the mast. The same authority 
refers to the practice which had come into fashion of using 
long cables by which " we resist the malice of the greatest 
winds that can blow." 

He tells us also how the Marie Rose of Henry VIII. *s 
time was lost when getting imder way. She heeled over, 
and the water rushing in through her ports, which were 
only sixteen inches above the water, she sank. Raleigh 
goes on to say that they were now making such improve- 
ments in their ships as would prevent such a catastrophe 
occurring again ; but we know that more than one instance 
of this kind of calamity happened in later times owing to 
the same cause, notably the case of the Royal George. 
Royal ships, he tells us, were being strengthened by 
pillars fastened from keelson to the beams of the second 
deck and so keeping them from giving way in bad weather. 
He rejoices over the improvement of the lines in the new 
ships mentioned above *' whereby they never fall into the 
sea after the head and shake the whole body, nor sinck a 
steme, nor stoope upon a wind." He gives the following 


P. 16 



essentials for the building of a good ship : That she be 
strong, swift, stout-sided, able to carry her guns m all 
weathers, be seaworthy and stay well when boarding and 
turning on a wind. He advises that in order to make her 
sail well the ship should be given a long run forward and 
not sink into the water, but lie clear above it. He 
suggests, too, that her lowest tier of guns be four feet 
above water, and in order to be a good sea-boat she have 
a good draught of water and not be overcharged with 
towering poops, " which commonly the king's ships are." 
This " overcharging " compelled the ships in bad weather 
to "lie at trye" (Le., heave-to, hence the derivation of the 
word try-sail), under main-course and mizzen. In protest- 
ing against this excessive overcharging of poops and decks 
he adds, " two decks and a half is sufficient to yield shelter 
and lodging for men and mariners and no more charging 
at all higher, but only one low cabbin for the master." 

Large ships had two decks, an upper one and a gun- 
deck underneath. Towards the end of the sixteenth 
century, a third deck, called a false orlop was laid in the 
hold to carry cabins and stores. The ship was divided 
transversely on both upper and lower decks by means of 
bulkheads where the forecastle and poop ended. Gravel 
ballast was used to such an extent that but little room was 
left for stores. A large portion of the space left in the 
hold of the ship in the waist was taken up by the cooking 
galley which was a solid structure of bncks and mortar. 
Raleigh * complains of the heat " that comes from the cook 
roome " as well of the risk of fire which it afforded, and of 
the unsavoury smells which emanated from this part of 
the ship. He therefore recommends that the "cook 
roomes" be placed in the forecastle instead, as was the 
custom already adopted by many of the merchant ships. 

When Elizabeth came to the throne, the Henri Grace 
d Dieu had been accidentally burnt five years before. 

• « Judicious and Select Essaycs," p. 33. 


Apart from the Jesus of Luheck (700 tons), the Triumph 
was the largest English ship afloat. Built in 1561, her 
tonnage was over a thousand, and her crew numbered 
500. Until the launching of the Prince Royal in 1610, she 
was the finest English ship afloat. But though there were 
improvements going on in regard to the building of the 
ships, the lot of the sailor was not entirely a happy one. 
Musty rations, want of clothes, and the harmful effects of 
the bilge water collecting in the bottom of the ship and 
emitting an unwholesome stench, caused scurvy and 
dysentery ; and the sailors of both the English ships and 
the Spanish Armada suffered terribly from these. But 
on the other hand, we find that as early as the year 1601, 
Lancaster, during his first voyage for the East India 
Company, kept the crew of his flagship in comparatively 
good health by serving out lime-juice.* 

The illustration in Fig. 50 is of the Ark Royal froni a 
contemporary print in the Print Room of the British 
Museum. Built for Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587, she 
was sold while on the stocks to Queen Elizabeth for 
£5000. Her name was to have been the Ark Ralegh, 
but on being purchased it was changed as above. Her 
name was, after the end of this reign, changed to the 
Anne Royal, and in 1625, while returning from Cadiz, 
she began to leak hke the proverbial lobster-pot and only 
reached home with difficulty. In 1636, while lying in the 
Thames, she bilged on her own anchor and sank. It was 
this Ark Royal that was Elizabeth's flagship of the fleet 
that defeated the Armada, and for this reason, if for no 
other, she is deserving of a more complete consideration 
than we have room to devote to other ships of this 
period. Sir William Monson,t who was already a captain 

♦ See article on " Public Health," by Charles Creighton, on p. 763, 
vol. i., of Traill and Mann's " Social England." 

t " Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson," edited by M. Oppenheim, 
Navy Records Society. See vol. ii. p. 235. 

^ 197 




by 1587, gives her tonnage as 800, and the number of her 
crew as 400. Happily the complete inventory of the 
Ark Royal is still in existence, and the reader is referred 
to the " State Papers Relating to the Defeat of the 
Spanish Armada, anno 1588."* It was compiled in 
September 1588 after the Ark Royal had come in for a 
survey, having been out in the Channel in the memorable 
victory. All the tackle and spars and sails, every item of 
the inventory down to the kettles for the cooking-room i»~ 
mentioned. From this list we find that the spritsail, 
besides its yard, had clew lines, braces, sheets, halyards, and 
** a false tye." Sir Henry Manwayring, who also fought in 
the fleet against the Armada, in his '* Seamen's Diction- 
ary " defines ties as four-strand ropes, hawser-laid, being 
the ropes by which the yards hang. But the spritsail yard 
having no ties, was made fast by a pair of slmgs to the 
bowsprit. Among the items of the rigging of the fore- 
mast are included the " fore pennants," and both the falls 
and pennants of the "swifters." Referring to Man- 
wayring s " Dictionary," we find that " swifters doe belong 
to the maine and foremast, and are to succour the 
shrowdes and keep stifFe the mast. They have pendants, 
which are made fast under the shrowdes at the head of the 
mast with a double block, through which is reeved the 
swifter." Mention must be made of the " foreboUngs " and 
main bowlines. Our ancestors made great use of these 
bowlines in order that these great square sails might set 
quite flat. Until the triangular head sails came in about 
the middle of the eighteenth century, the foremast was 
stepped very far forward, for the spritsail was only used 
off* the wind and when getting under way. The manner 
in which the spritsail in this illustration of the Ark Royal 
is shown in the head stowed is quite correct. 

The inventory mentions also the clew-garnets and 

* Edited by Professor Sir J. K. Laughton, M.A., R.N., Navy Records 
Society, 1894. 



martnets (leech-lines) of the foresaU, and the " fore- 
puttocks" {Le.. futtock shrouds) of the foretop-mast. 
The fall of the martnets of the topsails led down mto the 
fiffhtinff-top where it was hauled, and the expression " top 
the martnets " was the order for hauling the martnets up. 
The yards were hoisted by jeers or halyards. Manwayring 
defines " jeere " as a hawser, made fast to the main or tore 
yard close to the ties of great ships only. It came through 
a block which was seized close to the top and led down to 
another block at the bottom of the mast close to the 
deck. Great ships had one on either side of the ties. 
Apart from the use of the jeer to hoist or lower the yards, 
it was especially serviceable for taking some of the weight 
oflF the ties, and to hold the yard from falling down if the 
ties should break. In fights, when the sickle-shaped shear- 
hooks akeady mentioned were used by the enemy, the 
opponent would sling his yards in chains " for feare least 
the ties should be cut, and so the yards faU downe, and 
these chaines are called sUngs" (Manwayring). The 
lateen yards on the mizzen and bonaventure-mizzen ha(^ 
parrals to secure them to the masts. 

The Ark Royal carried three bower anchors of 20 cwt. 
as well as three others and a grapnel. She had fifty 
fathoms of 15-inch cable, three compasses, four runnmg 
glasses, three flags of St. George and two of the Queen s 
arms, as well as a silk ensign. In the illustration before 
us the St. George's flags wiU be noticed flying at the tore 
and bonaventure mizzen ; at the mam is the royal 
standard, and at the main-mizzen the Tudor Rose. From 
the spritsail yard flies a pennant surcharged with a St. 
George's cross, from the foretop a pennant bearing a foul 
anchor, being the pennant of the Lord High Admiral. 
This flag will also be noticed on the foremast of the ship 
of Charles II/s time of the frontispiece. In fact, as 
the reader is probably aware, this is still used as the 
Admiralty's flag. From the fore topgallant yard is a 

X «/ V 


streamer bearing a lion rampant, of Lord Howard of 
Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England; from the 
maintop another streamer, striped, whilst at the waist is 
a large banner with Howard s arms thereon. The inven- 
tory includes ballast baskets for carrying the gravel on 
board, or in which it would be stowed ; netting for the 
forecastle, the waist and the half-deck, as well as cloths for 
the waist and top armours for the mizzen top, but we shall 
refer to these later. 

Touching the sails of the Ark Royal, she had a bonnet 
to her spritsail laced on in the manner adopted to-day by 
the wherryman of the Norfolk Broads. The mainsail and 
foresail and main mizzen also had the bonnet, but the 
others had not, although a topsail bonnet was found rarely. 
The foresail had a double bonnet with a single drabbler, 
likewise the mainsail. In the case of the main mizzen the 
bonnet was a double one. The inventory only includes 
one topgallant sail, although three are shown in this 
engraving. This fact is certainly an argument for those 
who assert that the illustration represents not the Ark 
Royaly although the rest of the evidence is against this 
assertion. Much more likely is it that the other top- 
gallant sails were added at a later date. 

The inventory includes a sail for the ship's boat, and 
two for the pinnesse. A long boat with a brass sheave in 
the head ana supplied with oars, a pinnesse and a " cocke " 
(derived from the French coque) which was a ship's 
boat, as well as an older pinnesse, were carried on board 
the Ark Royal During the survey at Chatham it was 
decided to have her overlop in the waist made less curved 
and more level for the sake of placing the guns in better 
position, a lesson that had been impressed on them even 
more forcibly by the ill-success of the fire of the Spaniards. 
In our illustration it will be noticed that the curve has 
disappeared. I therefore conclude that this engraving 
was made after the ship had been altered at Chatham. It 


seems very probable that it was during this overhaul that 
the other topgallant sails were added, in which case the 
argument against the veracity of this engraving is 

Elizabeth's own royal ships were undoubtedly fine 
able vessels for their time. They were seaworthy, and at 
at any rate during the time of the Armada did not suffer 
from leaks. But the same statement cannot be made of 
the merchant ships that joined the royal fleet from the 
various English ports. 'These were far from sound and 
leaked badly. In a letter from Howard to Walsyngham * 
we find that the merchants besought the former that he 
and the rest of Her Majesty's fleet would carry less sail 
for they could not endure it, while " we," writes Howard, 
" made no reckoning of it." This inferiority is confirmed 
also by Seymour, who writes to say that the merchant 
ships in the English fleet were not as good seaboats as the 

Before we leave the Ark Royal, let us call to the 
reader's attention a detail that, if he is a sailorman, he will 
have already noticed. The furling of the sails, correctly 
shown here, is very clumsy and bungling. The custom 
was when the sails were furled to bind them to the yard 
with rope yarns, and these yarns were cut to loose the sail 
when getting under way. Thus Sir William Wynter, 
writing on February 28, 1587, concludes his letter: 
"Written aboard the Vanguard, being in the Downs, 
ready to cut sail." t 

Centuries ago, when England had only her Viking-like 
craft, she had bravely claimed for herself the Sovereignty 
of the Seas. It was to the foreigner an insolent, arrogant 
boast. She had fought for the distinction many times. 
Spain had grown up to be the first maritime nation of the 

• Given on p. 274 of *' State Papers relating to the Defeat of the 
Spanish Armada," vide supra, 
t ibid. p. 82. 







world, but just as in after years the Dutch and the French 
had, not without a severe tussle, to be prevented from 
usurping this distinction, so England had to smash the 
Armada — the greatest aggregation of naval power the 
world had ever seen on one sea — and with this defeat 
England was again, for a time at least, the mistress of the 
sea. Drake's voyage round the world with a squadron of 
five ships, the largest of which did not exceed 100 tons, 
set the final seal on the abilities of English seamanship 
and navigation. The victory over the Armada settled 
their superiority in ships, strategy and shooting. 

Before we pass from the story of the fight that never 
grows old — and there is no more stirring reading than the 
plain narrative included in Hakluyt — let us not forget 
that capable as were the royal ships of Elizabeth, they 
could never have been victorious had not the West 
countrymen of England come to help with their ships 
and their crews. The former may have been leaky, the 
latter may have been not as skilled as Howard's men in 
the finer arts of war, but they did their duty, in spite of a 
thousand drawbacks, and did it well. Where had they 
learned their seamanship? How was it that they had 
even such good ships as they possessed but a hundred 
years after Henry VII. had come to the throne? As 
Mr. Blackmore points out,* ever since the discovery of 
Newfoundland the men of Cornwall and Devon had gone 
forth year after year to fish for cod off the Banks. Kipling, 
Connolly, and others, have sung the epic of the brave 
fishermen who to-day race out to the same banks from 
Gloucester, U.S.A. Most readers of fiction know that 
cruising about there is no latitude for a fair-weather 
sailor, yet three hundred years before them, when the arts 
of shipbuilding and navigation were not what they are 
now, Englishmen in ships built at Dartmouth and else- 

• See " The British Mercantile Marine : a Short Historical Review," by 
Edward Blackmore, London, 1897. 


where were making regular voyages across the broad 
Atlantic to those fishing banks. Big vessels and brave 
capable seamen were essential for these trips. Both, at 
the summons of necessity, had gradually evolved from 
the West Country, and, at the hour of need, placed them- 
selves at the service and in the defence of their father- 

What were the kinds of ships that sailed in English 
waters during the reign of Elizabeth ? As far as historical 
research will suffer us let us try and obtain a general idea 
as to their rig and appearance. Fig. 51, which is taken 
from the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian, affords an excel- 
lent example of an Elizabethan man-of-war. The flags 
flying are the green and white Tudor colours on the ensign 
staff and the St. George at the main, which was the 
national flag, but it was men-of-war only that were allowed 
to fly it at the main. According to Manwayring the 
Elizabethan ships, when running before a wind or with the 
wind on the quarter in the case of a fair fresh gale, often 
unparralled the mizzen lateen yard from the mast, and 
launched out the yard and sail over the quarter on the lee 
side, fitting guys at the further end to keep the yards 
steady. A boom also appears to have been used in 
this case. If a ship gripe too much, says Manwayring, 
then the mizzen was stowed, for otherwise "she wiU 
never keep out of the wind." The mizzen was some- 
times used when at anchor to back the ship astern in 
order to keep her from fouling her anchor on the turn 

of the tide. 

Perhaps in the mind of the general reader the one type 
of ship of this age that he has any vague knowledge of is 
the galleon. He associates her with the Armada and with 
the Spanish nation exclusively. He has not forgotten 
that he learned in the days of his youth that the ships of 
the Armada were of enormous size, and that the English 
ships were victorious because they were small and nimble. 



It is perfectly true to say that our vessels were light and 
comparatively handy, but we must not omit to throw into 
the balance the superiority of our seamanship and gunnery, 
as we pointed out just now. The English had a natural 
taste for the sea ; the Spaniards, in spite of all their trading 
and exploring across the ocean, had for it an equal distaste. 
They were admittedly bad seamen.* I am not expressing 
an opinion but asserting a fact, and this was as much the 
cause of their defeat as anything else. But the English 
ships were not particularly small. At least seven were of 
between 600 and 1100 tons. There were m the whole 
Spanish Armada only four ships larger than our Triumphy 
whilst of the English merchantmen the Leicester and the 
Merchant Royal were each of 400 tons. 

Nor did the word "galleon" necessarily denote a 
Spanish ship. It is perfectly true that the Spanish 
Armada contained a number of cumbrous galleons, but it 
must not be inferred from this that a galleon was neces- 
sarily clumsy. In point of fact, Spain was the last of the 
great maritime nations to adopt the galleon. In England 
the galleon denoted a vessel built expressly for war, as 
distinguished from the adapted merchantmen. She was 
essentially a ship built with finer lines, and in every way 
smarter than the ordinary vessel. The type had been first 
introduced into the English service by Henry VIII. long 
before Spain had adopted it, although, as we mentioned 
earlier, there was considerable confusion as to the actual 
names. Thus Henry VIII. 's ships were classed as "great 
ships," " galleasses," and " galleys," while for a long time, 
both in England and France, the galleon was called in- 
differently "galleon," "galleasse," "galley," and "galliot." 
By the outbreak of the Spanish war practically all the 
men-of-war in our country were galleons, and were thus 
described by foreigners. Nevertheless, as Mr. Corbett 

• " Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson," edited by M. Oppenheim, 
Navy Records Society, 1902. Sec vol. ii. p. 328. 



points out,* English seamen never took kindly to the 
word galleon. They continued to confuse "galleasse 
and "galleon" in describing the ships of foreigners. But 
for all that English shipwrights understood perfectly the 
technical characteristics, and in official building pro- 
grammes after the middle of EUzabeth's reign the three 
terms " galleon," " galleasse," and " galley " appear cor- 
rectly. The galleon, as Mr. Masefield well describes her, 
was roughly the prototype of the ship of the line, the 
galleasse the prototype of the frigate, and the pinnace of 
the sloop or corvette. The galleon was low in the waist 
with a square forecastle and a high quarter-deck just abaft 
the mainmast, rising to a poop above the quarter-deck. 
Reckoning upwards, the two decks, according to Manway- 
ring were called lower orlop or first orlop, and the next 
the second orlop. But if a ship had three decks they 
never called the uppermost— the third— by the riame of 
orlop, but simply " upper deck." The wooden bulkheads 
that separated the stern from the waist were pierced with 
holes for small quick-firing guns. , i. i 

The length of the galleon was three times that ot her 
beam, whereas the ordinary merchantman was only twice 
her own beam, thus preserving the old distinction that we 
saw in classical time existing between the long ship and 
the round ship. Yet the newer class of Elizabethan 
merchantman was getting longer, influenced by the 
experience gained on the long voyages across the Atlantic. 
It had been in Italy, the great home of maritime matters 
in earlier days, that the galleon had first been built. The 
galleon was in fact the child of necessity. The Mediter- 
ranean possessed the galley-type from very early times as 

• ** Papers relating to the Navy during the Spanish War, 1585-1587," 
edited by J. S. Corbett, LL.M., Navy Records Society, 1898: I wish to 
express my indebtedness to this volume, and to Mr. Oppenheim s Naval 
Tracts of Sir William Monson," for much matter in regard to the 
different types of Elizabethan ships. 



we have already seen ; she had, as we have also seen, the 
" round " merchant type. But as time went on a demand 
arose for a compromise between the two. Able to hold 
as much cargo, and more, than the old round ships, yet 
not utterly helpless like them in calms and narrow waters, 
the galleons were yet to be of such a kind as to be capable 
of acting with the galleys in war time. So they were 
made not as long but with more beam than the galleys, 
with a built-up structure fore and aft and — let us note 
this carefully — though they were sailing ships they had at 
first auxiliary oar-propulsion. The smaller English gal- 
leons also retained their oars for a long time. 

The immediate ancestor of the English galleon was the 
Italian merchantman that traded between Venice and 
London. This had three masts with a square sail on the 
foremast, but lateen on the main and mizzen. She carried 
also oars as auxiliaries. Afterwards, by degrees the oars 
were dispensed with, so that by the end of the sixteenth 
century the galleon was a purely sailing vessel with some- 
times two and sometimes three decks, while the galleasse 
had oars as well. Her special claim was that she was both 
faster and more weatherly than the older type of warship. 
English shipwrights understood a galleasse to be similar 
to a galleon but with more length in proportion to her 
beam, though strictly speaking the galleasse should desig- 
nate a large ship with high freeboard, using oars as well 
as sails. The ships, however, that fitted this description 
were known to them by the name of " bastard galleasses." 
The galleasse was sometimes flush- decked and minus both 
poop and forecastle and never so highly charged (i.^., with 
such high decks at stern and bow) as the galleon. A good 
illustration will be found in the foreground of Fig. 52, 
which contains two of these with their oars out. This 
picture represents the Spanish Armada coming up 
channel when first sighted off the Lizard. The illustra- 
tion has been taken from one of the plates in "The 


Tapestry Hangings of the House of Lords," engraved by 
John Pine, London, in 1739. If the reader will pardon a 
short digression it may not be out of place to say a few 
words in explanation of these engravings. 

After he had defeated the Armada in 1588, Lord 
Howard of Effingham, later raised to an earldom, deter- 
mined to commemorate the victory by depicting the 
scenes he had so recently passed through. Accordingly 
Hendrik Corneliszoon Vroom, who had at this time 
obtained a European reputation as a marine artist, was 
invited from Haarlem to paint the pictures. From these 
Francis Speiring, an eminent craftsman, wove the designs 
into tapestry. Howard, or, as he now was, the Earl of 
Nottingham, sold them in his old age to James L, who 
hung them in the precincts of the House of Lords. When, 
during the Commonwealth, the House of Lords was 
abolished, the tapestries were fitted into brown wooden 
frames and hung on the walls of the chamber which had 
been used for the Upper House. Here they remained 
until the House was burned down in 1834, when 
the ten tapestries perished. Fortunately, however, 
even in the inartistic eighteenth century, an artist, John 
Pine, and a friend of Hogarth, had the inspiration to 
reproduce them by engraving. But for this we should 
lack what is a most valuable record. It is so easy to fall 
into inaccuracies a century after an event, but since Pine 
copied from the tapestries, and the tapestries were executed 
under Howard's own supervision, there cannot be much 
room left for anything incorrect in respect of the ships. 
Howard had fought against the Spanish ships night 
and day in that memorable month of July, and had 
every opportunity of noting the rigging and Unes of his 
enemy's vessels, so that when he had left the sea and, not 
unnaturally, devoted his attention to his own memorial, 
he would be the ideal person to see that accuracy was 
insisted upon. These engravings are still to be picked up 



occasionally in some of the London print-sellers, but the 
illustration here given is from the collection in the Print 
Room of the British Museum.* 

The reader who is familiar with Elizabethan literature 
must have found considerable confusion existing in his 
mind as to what a " pinnesse " really was. Let us say at 
once, then, that the name was indiscriminately given to 
two distinct classes of craft. One class was a kind of 
galleasse, only smaller ; that is to say, she relied on both 
oars and sails. She was a sea-going ship and decked. 
Under this heading came also row-barges, and at various 
times also galleots, galleys, frigates, and shallops. The 
point to notice is that this class comprised really big craft. 
The other " pinnesses " were ships' boats. The modern use 
of the word pinnace expresses pretty clearly its relation to 
the mother snip. The greatest critics are unable to define 
exactly what a " bark " was, but from an early Venetian 
print I gather that she was smaller than the prevailing 
Mediterranean galley. At the same time the word seems 
to have included also vessels ranging from fifty, to a 
hundred and fifty tons. Thus they were sometimes small 
ships, and sometimes large pinnaces. Whilst Elizabethan 
seamen included all sailing vessels fit to take their place 
in the Une of battle under the generic term of ship, the 
shipwrights divided them according to their design into 
"ships," "galleons," "galleasses"; " barks" being a conve- 
nient term for vessels of smaller ability. 

The " brigandine" or " brigantine " was a Mediterranean 
type of small galley, rowed by its own fighting crew and 
without slaves. Sometimes she was classed as a " pinnesse " 
and sometimes as a bark, but never as a galley. Whether 
or not she possessed sails she was primarily a rowed boat. 
The illustration in Fig. 53 represents a big sea-going 

• The reader who desires fuller information on the subject is referred 
to an interesting article " The Lost Tapestries of the House of Lords," in 
Harpers Monthly Magazine, April, 1907, from the pen of Mr. Edmund Gosse. 


-f^-;'Pr^r '■■■ 















pinnesse as distinct from the ship's boat. This was the 
vessel that carried home the body of Sir Phihp Sydney, 
and is taken from " Sequitur celebritas et pompa funeris 
. . ." (of Sir PhiUp Sydney) by Thomas Lant, printed in 
1587. The EUzabethan deep-sea pinnaces were from 
eighty to fifteen tons. The present illustration shows the ^ 
vessel with her waist cloths rigged up to prevent boarding, 
and with nettings * drawn over the waist to intercept the 
missiles dropped from the fighting-tops of the enemy. 
Mr. Masefield says that this cloth was of canvas two bolts 
(three feet six inches) deep. It was gaily painted with 
designs of red, yellow, and the Tudor green and white. 
It was of no protection against the enemy's guns, yet it 
helped the sail trimmers on board from being aimed at. 
But against the enemy's arrows sent from the tops it was 
efficacious, for though they penetrated the texture they 
were caught. We have already called attention to the 
additional protection of the shields or pavesses that ran 
around the outside of the deck. 

The illustration in Fig. 54 shows a galleon with 
decorated sails, a practice that died out about the close of 
Elizabeth's reign, t This decoration was effected by stitch- 
ing on to the canvas cut-out pieces of cloth with twine. 
Most of the sails were woven in Portsmouth on hand 
looms, and the stuff was of good quality. But during the 
reign of James II. when the Huguenots took refuge in*' 
England, among the many new trades which the settlers 
brought over was that of the manufacture of sailcloth. A 
French refugee, Bonhomme, who had settled do^vn at 
Ipswich, taught the secret of its manufacture. Previously, 
England had imported her sail-cloth from France. The 
new factory was assisted in every possible way, but was 

• These nettings were at first made of metal chain^ but in the time 
of Elizabeth they were of rope. 

t The illustration is taken from a print in the British Museum made 
by an artist who was born in 1620. 

O 209 




finally destroyed by French agents, who bribed the artisans 
to return once more to France. Another factory was set 
up in London during the reign of William III., but as 
late as the time of George I. sail-cloth was imported from 

As to the rigging of Elizabethan ships : the shrouds 
of the fore and main masts led outside the ship to chains 
to which they were made fast. The platforms in the 
" chains " of the ships of this time were of no small size as 
we shall see when we come to consider the Spanish vessels. 
The shrouds of the mizzen and bonaventure were set up 
usually from inside the bulwarks on deck. The fighting- 
tops were of elm, being entered through a lubber's hole in 
the floor. Contemporary prints show sheaves of arrows 
projecting from the tops. At a later date light guns were 
placed here, but as this necessitated the use of lighted 
matches there was always the risk of setting fire to the 
sails. The shrouds and stays were of thick nine-stranded 
hemp. We see from old prints of this time that those 
parts, as for instance where the foresail came into contact 
with the bowsprit, which were liable to suffer from chafing 
were protected by matting made of rope or white line 

flaited, and then tarred. Masts were made of pine or fir. 
n dirty weather the fore-yard and fore-topsail yard could 
be sent on deck. Parrals of course kept the yard to the 
mast. There is not so very much difference between the 
sailor language of Elizabeth's time and that in use on board 
a modern saihng ship. Mr. BuUen in an essay on " Shake- 
speare and the Sea " reminds us that " Elizabethan England 
spoke a language which was far more studded with sea- 
terms than that which we speak ashore to-day." In 
such plays as Twelfth Night, Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, 
King Henry VI., and The Tempest, we have instances or 
this. Thus in Act III. Scene I. of the latter the first 
sailor commands the other to "slack the bolins there." 
Modem bowlines are slight ropes leading from forward to 


keep the leach or weather edge of the courses flat and rigid 
in hght winds when on a wind. But in olden times the 
bowline was of far greater importance, as we have seen, 
and led well out on to the bowsprit. Not merely the 
lower course, but topsail and topgallant sails possessed 

When the English fleet opposed the Armada it 
consisted of 197 vessels made up as follows: 34 of 
Elizabeth's own royal ships, 34 merchant vessels, 30 ships 
and barks paid by the City of London, 33 ships and barks 
(with 15 victuallers not reckoned in the total number), 23 
coasters varying from 160 to 35 tons, 20 other coasters 
and 23 voluntary ships. Of the merchant ships the 
Galleon Leicester and the Merchant Royal are each given 
as of 400 tons and carrying 160 men. The smallest was 
the small caravel of 30 tons with 20 men. But we have 
spoken at some length of the EngHsh ships. Let us now 
turn to consider the ships of other nations of this period. 

The Armada consisted of 130 vessels if we add up the 
list given in Hakhiyt. This number was made up of the 
following types : gSileons, patasses or pataches, galleasses, 
zabras, galleys and hulks. Besides these there were 20 
" caravels rowed with oares, being appointed to Performe 
necessary services unto the greater ships," making a total 
of 150. The tonnage of the fleet came to 60,000. There 
were 64 galleons " of an huge bignesse " and " so high that 
they resembled great castles," but in attacking ability 
" farre inferiour unto the English and Dutch ships, which 
can with great dexteritie weild and turne themselves at all 
assayes." It was this " bignesse " and the high castles at 
bow and stern that caused the prevailing fallacy to arise 
that the Armada ships were far larger than ours. The 
former were very high but very short on the keel, and in 
consequence equally unseaworthy. Ours were, as we 
pointed out above, long on the keel and not highly 
" charged " with castles. The Hakluyt account says the 


K TPf 


'limi I 


upperworks of the galleons were so thick and strong as to 
resist musket shot. The lower part of the hull and its 
timbers also were ** out of measure strong, being framed 
of plankes and ribs foure or five foote in thicknesse, inso- 
much that no bullets could pierce them, but such as were 
discharged hard at hand : which afterward prooved true, 
for a great number of bullets were founde to sticke fast 
within the massie substance of those thicke plankes. 
Great and well-pitched cables were twined about the 
masts of their shippes, to strengthen them against the 

battery of shot" 

The galleasses " were of such bigness, that they con- 
tained within them chambers, chapels, turrets, pulpits, and 
other commodities of great houses. The gaUiasses were 
rowed with great oares, their being in eche one of them 
300 slaves for the same purpose, and were able to do great 
service with the force of their ordinance.* All these 
together with the residue aforenamed were furnished and 
beautified with trumpets, streamers, banners, warlike 
ensioTies, and other such like ornaments." The various 
vessels also carried 12,000 pipes of fresh water and 
plentiful supplies of bacon, cheese, biscuit, fish, rice, 
beans, peas, oil, vinegar and wine. Among their stores 
were candles, lanterns, hemp, ox-hides and lead sheathing 
to be used to stop the holes that should be made by the 

enemy's guns. 

The Spanish ships had been built unnecessanly strong 
by very heavy scantUngs. They were, according to Mr. 
Oppenheim,t of light draught with broad floors and were 

• It is interesting to note that in the year 19OS some Armada relics, 
consisting of a bronze breach loader, found fully charged, and a pair ot 
bronze compasses were recovered from the wreck of the Spanish galleon 
Fhrencia, in Tobermory Bay, Isle of Mull. She had formed one of the 
Spanish fleet which fled up the North Sea from the English Channel, 
round the north of Scotland to the west coast, where in August of 1588 
this 900-ton ship was blown up. 

t See "Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson,'* vol. ii. p. 318 et seq. 



both crank and leewardy. The seams' opened in spite of 
the strength with which they had been put together. 
They were bolted with iron spikes and it was not long 
before these ships became " nail-sick." Their masts and 
spars were too heavy and their standing ngging too weak ; 
in fact, whilst the demand had to be met for big ocean- n^ 
going ships, the Spanish shipwrights and naval architects ) 
were not sufficiently advanced at this time to deal with. ' 
such enormous masses of material. 

We have mentioned above that Spain was the last ot 
the great maritime Powers to adopt the galleon. In 
Fiff. 55 the reader will see a representation of her 
galleons. It was not tiU about I55Q> Mr. Oppenheim 
states, that the great galleon was introduced. The print 
here reproduced is in the British Museum, and the date 
the authorities assign to it is about 1560, so that we have 
every reason for supposing that this illustration is a 
correct one. The reader will at once notice the high- 
charged stern immediately abaft the mainmast. The 
Spanish ships were notorious for their wall-like sides ; and 
for the height to which the bowsprit was " steeved," both 
of which details will be noticed in the illustration before 
us. We mentioned in this chapter that in her origin the 
galleon owed something to the galley. Now, one of the 
chief characteristics of the galley type was the ram which 
was handed down from ancient times. Here, then, m 
this picture will be seen the survival of the ram affixed to 
the galleon. But it is here no longer entirely for the 
purpose of attacking the enemy's ships but for boarding 
the fore-tack when by the wind. The bowlines are 
clearly seen on the vessel to the right of the print, leading 
from both the foresail to the bowsprit and from the main- 
sail. On both the fore and main courses, the martnets 
or leach lines are shown very clearly in the print ; it is a 
little difficult to indicate these so clearly in reproduction. 
Notice, too, that both foresail and main have got both 






bonnet and drabbler laced on. Below the bowsprit is 
seen the spritsail. The main-mizzen topsail is stowed, 
and the bonaventure does not carry a topsail above her 
lateen. The under portion of the hull of these Spanish 
ships was painted white, but ochre was frequently used 
for the stem. They had lids to their portholes, nettings 
and waistcloths, and " blinders " to avert the arrows and 
musket fire. The armament of the Spanish merchantman 
was, in the case of vessels of 100 tons, four heavy iron 
guns and eight hand guns aside as well as eight other 
hand guns ; but after about 1550 the armament became 

We pass now to speak of the Spanish treasure- 
frigates. These were an important class of vessel during 
the last quarter of the sixteenth century. The length on 
their upper deck was nearly four times the beam, and they 
possessed considerable speed. They were not properly 
cargo ships, but built in order to carry the valuable 
treasures from the Spanish Main across the Atlantic to 
Spain. Specially designed by Pero Menendez Marquez 
about the year 1590, to get across from the West Indies 
with the utmost despatch, they carried 150 men with 
soldiers and marines. Hakluyt* contains "certaine 
Spanish letters intercepted by shippes . . . containing 
many secrets touching" South America and the West 
Indies. The extremely interesting drawing in Fig. 56 
was sent home by an English spy and is now preserved in 
the Records Office, by whose permission it is reproduced 
/ here. This illustration shows very clearly that she had 
; evolved from a galley. She has three masts of which the 
main and mizzen are seen to possess topmasts that lower. 
These two masts also have topsails. The yards of the 
mainsail and foresail have also affixed to their extremities 
crescent-shaped shear-hooks for tearing the enemy's rigging. 
The forestay and foretopmast stay are well indicated. 


• See vol. X,, p. 158, of Maclehose's edition of 1903. 

















• — ^ 









The mizzen has a lateen as usual, and the ram still 
survives. The artist has also shown the netting men- 
tioned just now. As to the hull, we see from the spy s 
handwriting that she was " 104 foote by the keele and 
- 34 foote in breadth." She has thFee tiers of guns, these 
being mounted also forward, so as to be able to tire 
straight ahead. She appears to have as many as six 
decks aft— main, upper, spar and four poop decks, ine 
greatest precaution was taken by the Spanish government 
to ensure seaworthiness in the ships leaving their shores 
for the West Indies. Three times they had to be 
inspected before being allowed to set forth: once 
when empty, then when laden, and lastly, immediately 
before departure. No cargo was allowed to be carried on 
deck except water, provisions and passengers luggage, v 
In the huge " channels " which were mentioned above J 
were stowed such commodities as wool, small casks ofV 
water, and straw. Mr. Oppenheim mentions that an 
ancient " PUmsoU " mark was ordered by the inspector^ 
in the year 1618, although the Genoese statutes had 
ordained this as early as 1330. ^ 

When in 1592 the English captured the "hugecarak 
called the Madre de Dios belonging to Portugal, there 
were found stowed in her capacious channels about 200 ' 
tons of goods. This will give some idea of the extent to 
which these channels grew in size. Hakluyt contains a 
long and detailed account of the capture and dimensions 
of this carack, which was the largest the EngUsh seamen 
had yet encountered. She was 1600 tons, having between 
600 and 700 souls aboard, besideslier rich cargo of jewels 
and spices and silks and other goods. She was eventually 
brought into Dartmouth, and is said never agam to have 
left the harbour. When surveyed, Hakluyt says that she 
measured from beak-head to the stern, 165 feet, extreme 
beam, 46 feet 10 inches. Her draught when laden had 
been 31 feet, which, being about the draught of one of the 






largest modem liners, would seem exaggerated did not 
the account definitely state that the survey was exactly 
made by " one M. Robert Adams, a man in his faculty of 
excellent skill." When, after being lightened, she was 
taken into Dartmouth, she drew only 26 feet, which is 
still enormous. Her decks at the stern comprised a main 
orlop and three closed decks. At the bows she had a 
forecastle and a spar deck "of two floors apiece." The 
length of her keel was 100 feet, of the mainmast 121 feet, 
while the circuit at the partners was 10 feet 7 inches, the 
main yard being 106 feet long. The following year 
another enormous carack was fired and sunk by the 
English. ^^ Her name was Las Cinque Llagas (" The Five 
Wounds "), and she is said by some to have been bigger 
even than the Madre de JDios. 

One of the most memorable of naval battles was 
that which was fought on the Adriatic Sea in 1571. On 
the one side were the allied forces of Venice, Spain, and 
the Papal States: on the other, the Turks who were 
defeated. Galleys and galleasses played an important 
part in obtaining this victory. To what development the 
galley had attained since the times of the early Greeks and 
Romans will be seen in Figs. 57 and 58. But in spite of 
all that history had added to them, it is surprising how \ 
little they differ in essentials. Fig. 57 has been sketched ^ 
from a model in the South Kensington Museum. It is 
quite old, and is said to have belonged to the Knights of 
Malta. Her dimensions if built to scale would work out ' 
at about 165 feet long, by 22 feet beam, with extreme/ 
beam from gunwale to gunwale, 31 feet. The depth/ 
would be 9*9 feet, and the number of sweeps 44. In thd 
United Service Museum there is also an instructiv^ 
Maltese galley model of a large size which, though of tbfe 
eighteenth century, differed so little as to be closely 
similar to^ the excellent illustration which we give in 
Fig. 58. This has been taken from an important publica- 


tion, of the beginning of the seventeenth century, by 
Joseph Furttenbach, entitled " Architectura Navalis,' 
printed at Ulm in 1629. As will be seen, each oar is still 
worked by a gang of men. At the stern the captain sits 

Fig. 57. Mediterranean Galley, 

with his knights by his side, while at the extreme stem is 
the pilot. Along the corsia or gangway down the ship 
walk two men with long poles with which to beat the lazy 
oarsmen. The principal armament was carried in the 
bows and so was unable to be used for broadside fire. 
Notice also the survival of the trumpeters. The length of 
this vessel was 169 feet from beak to stem, with an 
extreme beam of about 20 feet. The word antennce is 
still found at tliis time as applied to the yards. In spite 



of the handiness of the galley and her consequent popu- 
larity in the Mediterranean, she was thoroughly despised 
by Elizabethan seamen. Much more after thew own 
heart was the nave or ship shown in Fig. 59, and also 
taken out of Furttenbach. The reader wiU notice a wise 
restriction of high-charged structures. This vessel^fact, 
shows a steady improvement in naval architecture. 1 bus, 
besides the lateen mizzen she carries a square topsail above, 
while in addition to the spritsail seen furled to its yard on 
the bowsprit, there has now been added a sprit topsail 
whose yard is seen to hoist up a sprit topmast. When / 
we compare this vessel with the wooden walls ot the 
eighteenth century, she wiU be seen to be wonderfully 
modern. The last traces of crude mediaevahsm are disSp^ 
pearing. Sciencein design has fast begun to supplant rule 
of thumb and guess-work based only on ignorance, bkill 
has taken the place of inexperience in the work ot the 
shipwright, and both design and construction have been 
based on the knowledge obtained not only m long and 
tedious voyages, but in the brisk fightingbetween nation 
and nation and privateer against treasure sMp and trader. 
In the same volume of Furttenbach a useful plan ot the 
lines of this ship is given, from which we see that whilst 
the main mast is stepped at the keelson, the fore and mizzen 
are stepped on the main deck. ... , • 

A favourite vessel with the Turkish pirates who in- 
fested the Mediterranean at this time was the carra- 
muzzal, classed as a brigandine. Her sail, says Hakluyt, 
consisted of " a misen or triangle " sail, that is of course a 
lateen. She is shown in Furttenbach purposely without 
riecine or sails so as to indicate clearly her method ot 
finng. The tartana, with her lateen saU, sometimes 
seen in contemporary prints, was a Mediterranean fishing 

In spite of the great interest manifested by England 
and other nations recently in Arctic exploration, let us 






















not forget that the first true polar voyage was undertaken 
during the reign of EUzabeth by Dutchmen. Their object 
was to find the North-East passage to China, and terrible 
were the privations and penis endured. The reader who 
has become familiar with Franklin's, McClintock's, Nan- 
sen's, Scott's, Shackleton's, and other explorers' travels to 
the poles, is advised to compare the experiences which 
these Dutchmen endured. Many of them have their 
counterpart in the accounts written by modern explorers. 
Thus one of the ships was tilted over to a dangerous 
angle, though ultimately righted. Once one of the ships 
was caught in a driving pack of ice, and suddenly freeing 
herself three of her crew who were on the ice had barely 
time to be drawn quickly up the ship's sides and saved 
from drowning. These and the other incidents mentioned 
here are all delightfully illustrated in " A true account of 
the three new unheard of and strange journeys in ships 
. . . in the years 1594, 1595 and 1596," by Levinus 
Hulsius, printed at Frankfort in 1612. The type of ship 
used for this expedition appears to be the galleon. The 
rigging and sails, the lacing holes for the drabbler and 
bonnet, the topsails " goared " out to the clews, and the 
bowlines, are all shown. One illustration proves that 
when close-hauled these ships stowed both spritsail and 
sprit topsail. 

Unhappily for the navigators, but luckily for us, their 
big ship stuck fast in the ice and remained there. Anxious, 
therefore, to return to Holland with the approach of 
summer, they determined to attempt the journey in open 
boats. Now much as we sympatluse with the sufferings 
of these brave men, this unfortunate incident of an aban- 
doned ship has given us a picture of the men engaged in 
adding raised gunwales to their small boats and afterwards 
saiUng across the sea. Hitherto in this history of the 
sailing ship, except when we spoke of the lateen, we have 
always had in mind the squaresail rig. Its virtues never 







grow old when utilised for big ships and deep-sea sailing. 
But for small craft and for handiness there is nothing to 
beat what is known as the fore and aft rig. Just exactly 
when the fore and aft rig originated is not possible to 
determine, although its rise and influence have been since 
very powerful, especially in the modem yacht and fishing 
vessel. But it may be taken as practically certain that 
the sloop rig (by which I mean a vessel with a peaked 
mainsail and a triangular headsail), like many other good 
points of ship development, came from the Low Countries 
during the first half of the sixteenth century. In a map * 
sent in 1527 from Seville, in Spain, by M. Robert Thorne 
to Doctor Ley we see a Dutch-like sloop depicted. A map 
of Ireland of 1567 contains two vessels of this rig. H. C. 
Vroom, whom we referred to above as the designer of the 
House of Lords tapestries, painted a picture entitled lite 
Arrival at Flusldng of Robert Dudley^ Earl of Leicester y 
1586. The date of Vroom's birth was 1566. Now this 
picture shows about half a dozen small vessels rigged 
exactly like the small boat given in Hulsius. This rig 
consists of a triangular sail hoisted up the forestay, and 
with a mainsail having no boom or gaff, but a large sprit 
across ; in fact, exactly resembling the rig of the Thames 
"stumpey" barge to-day. It was only at a later date 
that the jib was added to the foresail and a topsail to the 
sprit mainsail. The other small boat given in Hulsius is 
shown square rigged, with one course on her main and the 
same on her fore, but the latter mast is stepped very far 
forward and right at the bows. The design of the latter 
boat's hull shows the remnant of the Viking influence, 
which is not obUterated even in the modem Dutch schuyt. 
It should be mentioned also that the cutter-rigged boat in 
Hulsius just alluded to has a yard-tackle coming down 
from the top of the mast to about the middle of the sprit, 

• This map will be found reproduced at p. 171, vol, ii.^ of Maclehose's 
edition of Hakluyt^ published in 1903. 



while from the peak of the sail two vangs lead down aft, 
just as in the modern barge. 

Before we close this eventful period we must not omit 
to mention the East India Company, which ranks after "^ 
the Armada and the Battle of Lepanto as the most im- \ 
portant item to be reckoned with in connection with the^^ 
development of the sailing ship. Formed by a company 
of merchant-adventurers to trade to the East Indies, 
Elizabeth granted its charter in 1600 : its first fleet consisted 
of the Red Dragon (600 tons and 200 men), the Hector 
(300 tons and 100 men), the Ascension (200 tons and 
80 men), and the Susan (240 tons and 80 men), together 
with a deep-sea pinnesse of 100 tons with 40 men. 

The Tudor period had seen the most wonderful inno* ^ 
vations and developments in connection with the sailing N 
ship. Under no period had it altered so much or in so 
short a space of time. Not, indeed, until we come to the 
middle of the nineteenth century did the sea witness such 
original craft voyaging across its surface. But let us see 
now what happened during the reigns of the Stuarts and 
their successors. 








|NE of the most lucrative, if exciting, 
professions which was far from un- 
popular during Elizabeth's reign was 
that of fitting out a small fleet of 
two or three ships, roving about the 
seas, especially off the coast of Spain, 
attacking and, when fortunate, cap- 
turing a ship homeward bound with 
treasure from the West Indies. In 
spite of the distinguished English- 
men who were engaged in this, in 
spite of the excellent training it 
afforded to our seamen, it can only 
be condemned as illegal and piratical, although for a 
long time it was winked at. James I., however, on 
his accession determined to take away from it any sem- 
blance of approval. He did his best to bring an end to 
these marauding expeditions, but for all that they went 
on persistently though not overtly. Captain John Smith, 
a distinguished sailor of this time, who was also the first 
Governor of Virginia, has left us a lively account depicting 
an imaginary engagement to illustrate the working of a 
ship of this date. It is to be found in " An Accidence or 
The Pathway to Experience necessary for all young 


sea-men . . • written by Captaine John Smith sometimes 
Governour of Virginia and Admirall of New England," 
printed in London in 1626. As it shows in actual use the 
very details of the ship and equipment we mentioned in 
the last chapter, I cannot refrain from quoting at length 
the following graphic description. I give it just as it was 
printed, substituting only modern spelling and punctuation : 

" A sail I How stands she ? To vrtndward, or leeward ? 
Set him by the compass. He stands right ahead, or on 
the weather bow, or lee bow. Out with all your sails : a 
steady man to the helm. Sit close to keep her steady. 
Give chase or fetch him up. He holds his own. No : 
we gather on him. Out goeth his flag and pennants or 
streamers, also his colours, his waist-cloths and top- 
armings. He furies and slings his mainsail. In goes his 
sprit sail and mizzen. He makes ready his close fights * 
fore and after : well, we shall reach him by and by. What ? 
Is all ready? Yea, yea. Every man to his charge. 
Dowse your topsail. Salute him for the sea — hail him. 
' Whence your ship V 'Of Spain : whence is yours ? ' 
*Of England.' 'Are you merchants or men of war?' 
*We are of the sea.' He waves us to leeward for the 
King of Spain and keeps his luff. Give him a chase 
piece, a broad side and run ahead. Make ready to tack 
about, give him your stern pieces. Be yare t at helm : 
hail him with a noise of trumpets. 

" We are shot through and through, and between 
wind and water. Try the pumps. Master, let us breathe 
and refresh a little. Sling a man overboard to stop the 
leak. Done, done I Is all ready again ? Yea, yea. Bear 
up close with him. With all your great and small shot 
charge him. Board him on his weather quarter. Lash 

• That is to say he not merely covers with the canvas-cloth the whole 
length of the deck to prevent boarding, but the nettings would also be 
drawn over the waist to catch the falling wreckage of spars. (See Fig. 53.) 

t Dexterous, 






fast your grappling irons and sheer ofF. Then run stem- 
hnes the midships. Board and board* or thwart the 
hawse. We are foul on each other. The ship's on fire. 
Cut anything to get clear, and smother the fire with wet 
cloths. We are clear, and the fire out. God be thanked. 
The day is spent, let us consult. Surgeon, look to the 
wounded, wind up the slain. With each a weight or 
bullet at his head and feet. Give three pieces for their 
funerals. Swabber, make clean the ship. Purser, record 
their names. Watch, be vigilant to keep your berth to 
windward, and that we lose him not in the night. 
Gunners, spunge your ordinances. Soldiers, scour your 
pieces. Carpenters, about your leaks. Boatswain and 
the rest, repair the sails and shrouds. Cook, see you 
observe your directions against the morning watch. Boy ! 
HuUoa, master, hulloa! Is the kettle boiled? Yea. 
Boatswain, call up the men to prayer and breakfast. 

" Boy, fetch my cellar of bottles. A health to you all 
fore and aft. Courage, my hearts, for a fresh charge. 
Master, lay him aboard luff for lufF. Midshipmen, see the 
tops and yards well manned with stones and brass balls. 
To enter them at shrouds and every squadron else at their 
best advantage, sound drums auitrumpets and St. George 
for England. They hang out Imiag of truce. Stand in 
with him, haul him amain, abaft, or take in his flag. 
Strike their sails and come aboard, with the captain, 
purser and gunner, with your commission, cocket or bills 
of loading. Out goes their boat. They are launched 
from the ship side. Entertain them with a general cry. 
God save the captain, and all the company, with the 

• " Boord and boord " — i.e., when two ships touch each other. 

Manwayring advises against boarding the enemy at the quarter, which 
is the worst place, because it is high. The best place for entering was 
at the bows, but the best point for the play of the guns was to come up 
to her "athwart her hawes " — i.e., across her bows. By this means you 
could then bring all your broadside to play upon her, while all the time 
the enemy could only use her chase and prow pieces. 



trumpets sounding. Examine them in particular, and 
then conclude your conditions with feasting, freedom or 
punishment, as you find occasion. Otherwise if you 
surprise him or enter perforce, you may stow the men, 
rifle, pillage or sack and cry a prize." 

Perhaps we may be allowed to add a word further in 
explanation of the duties of the officers taken also from 
this little book. The captain was not necessarily a seaman. 
His authority was to command the whole company and 
keep them in order. The lieutenant was to assist the 
captain and — hence the word — in his absence to take his 
place. The captain also directed a fight, while the master 
was really the sailing master and gave orders to the sailors, 
taking charge of the ship as long as she was on the high 
seas : but " when they make land " the pilot ** doth take 
charge of the ship till he bring her to harbour." The 
duties of the sailors included hoisting sails, getting the 
tacks aboard, hauling the bowlines and steering the ship. 
The Yonkers were the young men whose work was to take 
in the topsails, furl and sling the mainsail, to do all the 
bowsing or tricing, and take their turn at the helm. In 
the setting of watches, the master chose one and the mate 
the other. 

As to the ship herself we find that the planking of a 
vessel of 400 tons was to be four inches thick, ships of 300 
tons to have three-inch planking, and small ships two-inch, 
but never less than this. Between the beams of the deck 
and the orlop there were to be six feet of headroom, and 
ten ports on each side upon the lower orlop. A flagstaff 
was over the poop. A jeer-capstan was only to hoist the 
sails of big ships, being raised by hand on small vessels. 
Smith mentions using in a "faire gaile your studding 
sayles," and confirms the use of the mizzen topsail. One 
interesting item that he enumerates is obviously what we 
now know by the name of drogue or sea-anchor. Smith 
calls it a " drift sail," Manwayring describes the drift sail 

P 225 










as " a sail used under water, being veered out right ahead, 
having sheets to it, the use whereof is to keep a ship's 
head right upon the sea in a storme. Also it is good, 
where a ship drives in fast with a current, to hinder her 
driving in so fast, but it is most commonly used by 
fishermen in the North Seas." Smith mentions also the 
cross-jack yard as being now in use. 

During James I.'s reign the East India Company, 
encouraged by the King, endowed with a new charter, 
began to flourish considerably. An important new vessel 
was built for them called the Traders Increase, but she 
was careened whilst abroad at the end of her first voyage, / 
in order to have some repairs made to her hull. She fell/ 
over on to her side and was burnt by the Javanese. He^' 
size was 1100 tons, and the loss of so large a vessel in those 
days was a severe blow. This was not the only occasion 
in which an English ship was thrown away in this manner. 
Manwayring, writing of the contemporary practice of 
careening, says that if a ship wanted attention below the 
waterUne, as for instance her seams to be caulked, when 
the vessel could not be conveniently put ashore and in 
ports where the tide does not dry right out, the method 
was to take out most of the ballast and guns. Then by 
her side was brought a lower ship to which tackles were 
attached, by means of which the larger vessel was hauled 
down on to her side, care being taken at the same time not 
to strain the masts too much. Some ships which were not 
naturally top-heavy did not careen without difficulty, but 
EngUsh ships, having still fairly high decks, careened some- 
what easily. The Dutch, through the shallowness of the 
water off their coasts, could not have a deep draught, and 
in consequence their decks were not built high. And 
because they were the reverse of top-heavy it was with 
great difficulty that a Dutchman was careened. 

In 1603 James built three new ships for the Navy, and 
five years later the Ark Royal of Elizabeth's reign was 


rebuilt and renamed the An7ie Royal. In 1608 the keel 
was laid for the Prince Royal, a ship of 1200 tons, whose 
appearance will be found in Fig. 60. This illustration is 
from a picture in the Trinity House, and is here reproduced 
by kind permission of the Elder Brethren. She was the 
largest and finest ship that had ever been designed for the 
English Navy, and was the finest man-of-war of her time. 
She was both built and designed under the supervision of 
Phineas Pett, Master of Arts of Emmanuel College, Cam- 
bridge, a distinguished member of a distinguished family 
which, from the reign of Henry VIII, right down to 
William and Mary kept up a continuous Tine of naval 
builders and architects. An unsuccessful attempt was 
made to launch her on September 24, 1610, when it was 
found that the dock head at Woolwich was too narrow to 
allow her to get through. She was eventually launched 
successfully, however, at a later date. She was a three- 
decker in the sense that she had two full batteries and an 
upper deck armed. Gorgeously decorated with carvings 
and paintings the Prince Royal was double-planked, and 
with but slight modifications, chiefly in respect of her 
decoration, would not be dissimilar to the ships built at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century. Indeed so 
slight, comparatively, were the developments that took 
place between this and the time of the Battle of Trafalgar 
that the ships of the early Stuarts would not have looked 
out of place among the ships of Nelson's fleet.~ Between 
now and the close of the eignteenth century the similarity 
between men-of-war and merchantmen was so close as to 
make distinction practically irnpossible. That, too, will 
account for the fact of the English in the foregoing 
imaginary encounter by Smith asking whether the 
Spanish vessel were a merchant or man-of-war. We 
have made so many changes between the two classes of 
ships since then that it is a little difficult at first to realise 






In the design of the Prince Royal, many of the old- 
fashioned conventionahties went by the board, and, as is 
always the case with a daring innovation, hostile criticisms 
were not scarce. Some of these, however, were justified, 
for when a Commission was appointed to report on the 
design, it was found that more than double the number of 
loads of timber were used than had been estimated for. 
The Prince Royal had a figurehead representing the 
King's son on horseback, after whom she was named. 
Her dimensions were : length of keel, 114 feet ; beam, 44 
feet. She was pierced for 64 guns and carried 55, This 
number was restricted in order to guard against the 
excessive top-weight. In action the vacant port-holes 
would be filled by guns from the opposite side of the 
ship. The reader will notice how close the similarity is 
between the hull of this ship and that of the merchantman 
in Fig. 59, of this period, taken from Furttenbach. The 
disappearance of the high poop and forecastles is particu- 
larly obvious. Three lanterns were carried at the poop, 
and subsequently this vessel was cut down smaller. At 
the beginning of the seventeenth century the lowest decks 
of ships carried the bread and other store-rooms, the 
cables, the officers' cabins as well as some of the crew. 
The second deck was about 6 feet above and pierced with 
nine ports aside. 

By 1624, James' navy contained four ships of the 
first rank, viz., the Prince Royal, the Bear, the Mer- 
honour and the old Ark Royal, now called the Anne 
RoyaL Besides these there were fifteen of the second 
rank, nine of the third, and four of the fourth, as well as 
some hoys. It is curious to find, too, the existence still, in 
the navy, of four galleys. They were a source of constant 
expense, being never used now that the value of big ships 
had been realised, and they were eventually ordered to be 
sold out of the service. 

Charles I. took the liveliest interest in the Navy, and 


Fui. ^)0. The " Prince Royal. 

Photo, bif ffanfstaengl. 
Fig. 71. Spithead : Boat's Crew recovering an Anchor. />. 228. 



In the design of the Prince Royal, many of the old- 
fashioned eonventionahties went by the board, and, as is 
always the case with a daring innovation, hostile criticisms 
were not scarce. Some of these, however, were justified, 
for when a Commission was appointed to report on the 
design, it was found that more than double the number of 
loads of timber were used than had been estimated for. 
The Prince Royal had a figurehead representing the 
King's son on horseback, after whom she was named. 
Her dimensions were : length of keel, 114 feet; beam, 44 
feet. She was pierced for G4 guns and carried 55, This 
number was restricted in order to guard against the 
excessive top-weight. In action the vacant port-holes 
would be filled by guns from the opposite side of the 
ship. The reader will notice how close the similarity is 
between the hull of this ship and that of the merchantman 
in Fig. 59, of this period, taken from Furttenbach. The 
disappearance of the high poop and forecastles is particu- 
larly obvious. Three lanterns were carried at the poop, 
and subsequently this vessel was cut down smaller. At 
the beginning of the seventeenth century the lowest decks 
of ships carried the bread and other store-rooms, the 
cables, the officers' cabins as well as some of the crew. 
The second deck was about 6 feet above and pierced with 
nine ports aside. 

By 1624, James' navy contained four ships of the 
first rank, viz., the Prince Royal, the Bear, the ^ler- 
honour and the old Ai^k Royal, now called the Anne 
Royal. Besides these there were fifteen of the second 
rank, nine of the third, and four of the fourth, as well as 
some hoys. It is curious to find, too, the existence still, in 
the navy, of four galleys. They were a source of constant 
expense, being never used now that the value of big ships 
had been realised, and they were eventually ordered to be 
sold out of the service. 

Charles I. took the liveliest interest in the Navy, and 

Fui. ()(). TlIK '' PuiNTE ROVAL. 

Photo, hji Honf^taevgl. 

Fkj. 71. SiMTHKAP : Boat's Crew RErovEuiNG an Anchor. y>. 228. 








under him naval architecture continued its progression. 
The first additions he was responsible for were not of big 
ships, but of the sea-going pinnesses of about 50 tons and 
under, equipped with both oars and sails. They were 
square-rigged, three-masted, and had two decks. They 
were, however, sparred and ordnanced far too heavily. 
In spite of the fact that England had built a few large 
ships during the last century, she had not been con- 
spicuously active in this respect. Far easier and cheaper 
had it been to capture the pick of the enemy's fleet, and 
then to refit them and turn the prizes into English men- 
of-war. But this lethargy was beginning to disappear. 
Pett was one of the chief influences in regard to this, and 
it was he who, having closely studied the lines of a fine 
French ship lying in British waters, learned some of the 
improvements that afterwards were embodied in the ships 
of our country. 

The Sovereign of the Seas in Fig. 61, reproduced from 
an engraving in the British Museum, after the picture by 
Van der Velde, owes her design to Pett also. The reader 
will see how much nearer his craft approaches to the old 
wooden walls of the eighteenth century. Built in 1637, 
this vessel was for the next generation the admiration and 
envy of foreign nations. Like the Prince Royal at a later 
date, she was cut down in 1652 to a two-decker, having 
been found somewhat crank. But as originally con- 
structed, the Sovereign of the Seas was a three-decker — 
the first of her kind— and her measurements, probably 
taken on the gun-deck, were : 169 feet 9 inches long, by 
48 feet 4 inches beam, the depth of her hold being 19 feet 
4 inches. She had a tonnage of 1683 burthen, and her 
anchor weighed 60 cwt. Designed by one member of the 
Pett family, Phineas, she was built under the supervision 
of Peter Pett. In 1684 she was practically rebuilt and 
then renamed the Royal Sovereign, but twelve years later 
had the misfortune to be burnt accidentally at Chatham, 


Ml i 

1^ ^ 


yet not before she had done excellent service under 
Blake and others during the seventeenth century wars. 
Notice in the illustration that instead of the rare use 
of the topgallant at the main, she carries them on all 
three masts : further still, observe the fact that by now 
royals have come into use for the first time. The fore and 
main have them stowed with yards lowered.* Originally 
the Sovereign of the Seas had four masts. She carried 
over 100 guns ; had a figure-head ; and the beak-head, 
though somewhat similar to that of the Prince RoyaU is 
placed lower, while the length of the ship is proportionately 
-eater, and the original tubby appearance of the Prince 
*.oyal is improved upon. There is a medal of the time of 
Charles 1., commemorating the Declaration of Parliament 
of 1642. On one side is shown a conventionalised design 
of this or a similar ship, showing both top-gallants and 
royals, the latter stowed. 

Comparing a ship of the seventeenth century with a 
modem sailing craft of the same tonnage, the most 
striking defects that would appear in the former were the 
clumsiness in proportions. The lowness of the bow and 
the height of the stern seem to us nowadays ridiculous : so 
they were. But it was just one of the stages reached 
in the transition from those lofty forecastles and 
stem castles that we saw originate in early times. 
But masts and spars were now no longer the stumpy 
items they had been. There was an improvement, too, in 

• I am far from convinced, however, that the drawing is in this respect 
correct. Edward Hayward in his book on "The Sizes and Lengths of 
Riggings for all His Majesties Ships and Frigates," printed in London 
in 1 660, only twenty-three years after the Sovereign of the Scm was 
launched, makes no mention whatever of either her royals or of any mast 
or spar above topgallant, although he mentions in detail the masts and 
yards and rigging and sails other than royals. He does mention, how- 
ever, that the Sovereign carried a bonnet to be laced on to her spritsail. 
It is possible, however, that the royals were added in 1684, when she was 



the existing rule of tonnage-measurement. Up to 1628 
it had been far from reliable, being reckoned by the 
capacity for storing so many tuns of wine. From the 
time of Henry V. and long after, ton as applied to shipping 
denoted the capacity to hold a barrel measuring 42 cubic 
feet in the hold below deck. Therefore a vessel of 900 tons 
was capable of holding 900 such barrels. As the barrels 
were circular and could not be packed close together, 
the tonnage was really greater than what was given.* 
But from 1628 it was to be estimated from the length of 
the keel, leaving out the false post (a piece bolted to the 
after edge of the main stempost), the greatest breadth 
within tlie plank, the depth from that breadth to the 
upper edge of the keel, and then to multiply these and 
divide the result by one hundred, t 

We have seen how, in the sixteenth century, the 
greatest rivals of the English were the Spaniards. Now, 
in the seventeenth century, it was the Dutch. Gradually 
they had been getting stronger and stronger until about 
the middle of the seventeenth century they had reached 
their zenith in prosperity and power. They had accumu- 
lated considerable wealth, were building fine, capable ships, 
and about the time we are speaking of had no equals in 
either of these possessions. Before the close of the six- 
teenth century we have seen them engaging on the first 
Arctic Expedition and inventing a new rig for small 
vessels. All through the reigns of James and Charles I. 
they had gone on developing. It was not until about the 
close of Elizabeth's reign that Holland had commenced to 
build ships purely for fighting purposes, but by the year 
1624 their men-of-war were the superior of ours. They 

• See Appendix II. of " Ancient and Modern Ships," by Sir G. C. V. 

t See " A History of the Administration of the Royal Navy and of 
Merchant Shipping in Relation to the Navy," &c., by M. Oppenheim, 
p. 268. 





kept their ships well, and we find incidentally that it was 
the practice of the Dutchmen to tallow the bottom of their 
ships while the English had allowed then- vessels to become 
overgrown with weeds and barnacles below the water-line. 
The competition between the two countries set ablaze so 
much jealousy that an explosion was bound to come 
sooner or later. It did come during the Commonwealth, 
but though the Civil Wars of Charles I. had the same 
ill effects on our Navy as the Wars of the Roses, yet under 
Blake the Dutch were beaten, our Navy became again 
the finest in the world, and settled for the future the 
position which English fleets should occupy in respect of 
other nations. Highly ruinous as this war was to Dutch 
shipping and commerce, it meant the rise of our own Navy 
and merchant service. True, our vessels were slower 
under sail than the Dutchmen, yet we were more solidly 
built and armed more heavily. One result of the war in 
1654, not a little gratifying to our pride, remained in the 
acceptation by the enemy that henceforth all Dutch ships, 
whether men-of-war or of the merchant service, on meeting 
any English men-of-war in British seas should strike their 
flags and lower topsails. Another and more practical result 
was that many valuable Dutch ships passed into our Navy 
as prizes. 

During the Dutch hostiUties was employed, for the 
first time, by the English, a man-of-war named the Constant 
Warwick, which was the successor of the galleasse and the 
immediate precursor of the frigate of the eighteenth 
century. Originally the name " frigate " (French, ^r^^a^^) 
was only known in the Mediterranean : it was then used 
as applied to the galleasse type of craft, having oars plus 
sails. But it was the English who were the first to appear 
on the ocean, says " Falconer's Marine Dictionary," with 
frigates denoting "a light, nimble ship, built for the 
purpose of sailing swiftly." The Constant Warwick was 
of 315 tons. Before the end of the Commonwealth the 


frigate was given finer Unes to her underwater body,; 
whilst the height of the hull above water was reduced and/ 
the keel lengthened. The rake fore and aft was lessened, 
so that the extreme length over all became diminished in 
proportion to the length of the keel. In spite of the 
obvious improvements which would ensue from this 
alteration, there was one vessel, the Gainsborough, which 
Mr. Oppenheim cites, that was unable to beat to wind- 
ward. These new frigates were built at first without 
forecastles, but afterwards, except in the case of the fifth 
and sixth rates, they were added to the larger ships./ 
They were somewhat under-canvassed rather than the 
reverse. The long boat was stiU towed astern as we saw 
in an earUer century, the pinnace and skiff being stowed 
on board. Although during the Commonwealth the 
ornate decoration of ships was restricted, gilding being 
entirely stopped, yet in 1655 Mr. Oppenheim states that 
this restriction was relaxed. Tke figurehead, the arms 
on the stern and the two figures on the stern gallery were 
to be gilt, but elsewhere the hull was to be black and 
picked out in gold where there was carving. In spite of 
all that we can bring against Cromwell it is only fair to 
say that he exercised a considerable amount of good on 
behalf of the Navy and EngUsh commerce. In addition 
to settling the Dutch troubles, there had been another 
matter affecting our shipping that needed attention. For 
some time the piratical people of Algiers had made the seas 
to be so dangerous as practically to have throttled over- 
ocean trade. Cromwell, however, in his own determined 
manner undertook an expedition to the Mediterranean 
under the command of Blake, and secured reUef for our 
commerce from the attacks by which it had been harassed. 
From ** Two Discourses of the Navy : 1638 and 1659," 
by John HoUond,^ we are able to gather some further 

• Edited by J. R. Tanner, M.A., Navy Records Society, 1896, from 
the MSS. in the Pepysian Library. 

^ 233 



information as to the material used for ships of the English 
Navy during the Commonwealth. Thus, the second of 
these discourses, written the year before Cromwell died, 
mentions that there were three kinds of hemp in use, viz. : 
Russian, which was the cause of considerable complaint 
because it lasted only a year, while home-made hemp 
endured for eighteen months ; Rhine band being another 
variety, and Riga band the third. But there appears to 
have been a good deal of trickery and dishonesty generally 
going on at this time in connection with hemp and cordage. 

As to the timber, English oak was used for straight, 
curved (referred to as "compass"), and knee timbers. 
Ash was used for blocks and tholes, &c., while elm and 
beech were used for the planking below the waterline and 
also for the keel. There was in this century a great 
dearth of timber, and the royal forests had seriously dete- 
riorated. As a result, foreign planking was imported m 
large quantities from abroad, and especially the Baltic. In 
this may be found the explanation for the speed with which 
our ships decayed. In Charles II.'s time the planks and 
timbers were fastened with tree-nails or hard wooden pins. 
Those who have not forgotten their undergraduate days 
will be interested to hear that the best trees for this purpose 
were grown at Shotover and Stow Wood, Oxfordshire. 

With regard to the iron used, by 1636 there were as 
many as three hundred iron works in the country. Iron 
nails were stolen in such large quantities that the syste- 
matic marking of Navy stores was begun about the time 
of the Restoration. A proclamation of 1 661 introduced the 
broad arrow, as a Government mark on timber and anchors. 

We pass now to the time of Charles II.* Following 
up the zeal of the ancestors of his house, Charles showed 

• I am indebted for many important details of this reign to "A 
Descriptive Catalogue of the Naval MSS. in the Pepysian Library at 
Magdalene, Cambridge," edited by Dr. J. R. Tanner, Navy Reconls 
Society, 1903. 



a very real interest in the Navy. In spite of all his follies, 
in spite of his libertinism and ejfieminacy, Charles had one 
great outstanding series of good deeds to his name in 
havmg done more for the English Navy than perhaps any 
EngUsh rulers before him. Navigation and naval archi- 
tecture went ahead rapidly : the Greenvirich Royal Obser- 
vatory and the Nautical Almanac were founded, the 
science of astronomy encouraged, and yachting in this 
country given such an impulse as is still felt to this day. 

The total strength of the Navy at the Restoration was 
156, this number being made up of the following entities : 
first rates, second rates, third rates, fourth rates, fifth 
rates, sixth rates, hoys (small sloop-rigged merchant 
vessels adapted for war purposes), hulks (for transporting 
horses, &c.), sloops, ketches, pinks and yachts. Sir 
Walter Raleigh refers* to "hoyes" of Newcastle as 
needing a slight spar-deck addition fore and aft. He 
speaks of them as being ready in stays and in turning to 
windward. They drew but little water, and carried six 
demi-culverin and four sakers. Manwayring defines the 
ketch somewhat vaguely as " a small boate such as uses to 
come to Belingsgate with mackrell, oisters &c." The 
ketch was a two-masted ship, not necessarily fore and aft 
rigged as we speak of them nowadays, but with the main- 
mast stepped well aft.t Descended from the Dutch 
galliot, the ketch was especially used at the end of the 
seventeenth century as a '' bomb-ketch." The illustration 
in Fig. 62 is from an old French print in the United 
Service Museum, Whitehall, where it is called a " Galiote 
a bombe." Bomb ketches were first employed by 
Louis XIV. in the bombardment of Algiers with great 
success. They were about 200 tons burthen, and built 
very strongly, so as to bear the downward recoil of the 
mortars. The reason for the large triangular space left 

• " Judicious and Select Essayes and Observations," p. 29. 
t But see Chapter IX, of this volume. 



between the mainmast and the bowsprit is to give plenty 
of room for the mortar to fire. The hold was closely 
packed with old cables, cut into lengths, the yielding 
elastic qualities of the packing assisting in taking up the 
force of the recoil.* The stamp used by the Hakluyt 
Society on their publications is ketch-rigged. About the 
time of the beginning of Charles II., the fore and aft 
ketch would be rapidly developing. The pink was also 
of Dutch extraction. She is — for the Dutch craft have 
scarcely altered since the seventeenth century — a cutter or 
yawl-rigged small open boat, and clinker built. 

About 1660 Chatham was the most important of the 
royal dockyards, Pett being in charge there. Sir Anthony 
Dean made a report on the state of the Navy in 1674, at 
the close of the Third Dutch war. As a result the sum 
of £300,000 was voted by Parliament to build twenty 
ships as suggested by Sir Anthony. As to the compara- 
tive strength of the European nations at this time, the 
following list is instructive. On April 24, 1675, England 
had ninety-two ships carrying twenty to one hundred guns 
and upwards : France had ninety-six ships and Holland 
one hundred and thirty-six. As we mentioned just now, 
the shallowness of the Dutch waters prohibited the 
building of big ships, so that they were unable to build 
three-deckers, and the largest ships carried no more than 
eighty or ninety guns. In addition to the figures quoted 
above, we must add three fireships to the English, four to 
the French, and forty to the Dutch fleets. 

The £800,000 voted by Parliament was really with a 
view of meeting the increase in the French Navy. It was 
during the first year of the reign of our Charles II. that 
young Louis XIV. took the government of the French 
into his own hands. There was then practically no 
French Navy in existence, if we except a handful of 
frigates. But three years before Sir Anthony Deane's 

• "Ancient and Modern Ships," pp. Ill, 112. 













recommendation was approved by Parliament, France had 
increased her fleet to fifty ships of the line, besides a large 
number of frigates and small craft. It was durmg Louis' 
regime, in fact, that England had to look, not to Spam, 
nor to the Dutch for signs of possible trouble on the sea, 
but to France, which rose rapidly to a position of the first 
importance as a naval power. Thus, EngUsh first-rates 
were to be built not with a view of the shallow-draught 
Dutchmen but in order to be able to contend with the 
fine French fleet whose vessels were the superior to ours 
in size, though our first-rates were capable of standing an 
enemy's battery better than most ships. 

English second-rates had the advantage financially of 
needing fewer men. They drew less water, carried a 
smaller weight of ordnance, but by reason of the fire from 
their three decks were able to render a good account of 
themselves in battle. Fourth-rates served only as convoys, 
and likewise the fifth-rates. In Pepys's time England had 
as many as thirty-six fourth-rates. 

We are able to gather a good deal of information 
respecting naval matters of the time from Pepys's Diary. 
In the early part of the reign war with the Dutch had 
broken out again, and in 1667 the Dutch had actually 
sailed up the Thames estuary and burnt our ships in the 
Medway. In spite of the ultimate good results to the 
EngUsh Navy under Charles II., the daring and pluck 
which had been so conspicuous in the Elizabethan seamen 
appear to have been not always alive. But what worse 
evidence could be wished of the condition of the English 
character of the time when we remember that while a 
Dutch fleet of eighty ships burned the forts of Sheerness 
and ascended the Medway as far as Chatham, capturing 
and destroying our men-of-war, Charles II. "amused 
himself with a moth-hunt in the supper room, where his 
mistresses were feasting in splendour " ? Under the date 
of July 4, 1666, Pepys writes in his diary: 

^ 287 




" With the Duke, all of us discoursing about the places 
where to build ten great ships: the King and Council 
have resolved on none to be under third-rates ; but it is 
impossible to do it, unless we have more money towards 
the doing it than yet we have in any view. But, however, 
the show must be made to the world. In the evening 
Sir W. Pen came to me, and we walked together, and 
talked of the late fight. I find him very plain, that the 
whole conduct of the late fight was ill ; that two-thirds 
of the commanders of the whole fleet have told him so : 
they all saying, that thev durst not oppose it at the 
Council of War, for fear of being called cowards, though 
it was wholly against their judgment to fight that day 
with the disproportion of force, and then we not being 
able to use one gun of our lower tier, which was a greater 
disproportion than the other. Besides, we might very well 
have staid in the Downs without fighting, or anywhere else, 
till the Prince could have come up to them ; or at least, 
till the weather was fair, that we might have the benefit 
of our whole force in the ships that we had. He says 
three things must be remedied, or else we shall be undone 
by this fleet. First, that we must fight in a line, whereas 
we fight promiscuously, to our utter and demonstrable 
mine : the Dutch fighting othei-wise ; and we, whenever 
we beat them. Secondly, we must not desert ships of 
our own in distress, as we did, for that makes a captain 
desperate, and he will fling away his ship, when there are 
no hopes left him of succour. Thirdly, the ships when 
they are a little shattered must not take the Uberty to 
come in of themselves, but refit themselves the best they 
can, and stay out — many of our ships coming in with very 
small disableness. He told me that our very commanders, 
nay, our very flag-officers, do stand in need of exercising 
among themselves, and discoursing the business of com- 
manding a fleet : he telling me that even one of our flag- 
men in the fleet did not know which tacke lost the wind, 


or kept it, in the last engagement. He says it was pure 
dismaying and fear that made them all run upon the 
Galloper, not having their wits about them : and that it 
was a miracle they were not all lost." 

From his entry made on October 20, 1666, we gather 
that the ** fleet was in such a condition, as to discipUne, 
as if the Devil had commanded it. . . . Enquiring how it 
came to pass that so many ships had miscarried this year 
. . . the pilots do say that they dare not do nor go but as 
the Captains will have them, and if they offer to do 
otherwise the Captains swear they will run them through. 
He [i.e. Commissioner Middleton] says that he heard 
Captain Digby (my Lord of BristolFs son, a young fellow 
that never was but one year, if, that, in the fleet) say that 
he did hope he should not see a tarpawlin [Le. a sailor] 
have the command of a ship within this twelve months." 

And again on October 28 : 

" Captain Guy to dine with me, and he and I much 
talk together. He cries out on the discipline of the fleet, 
and confesses really that the true EngUsh valour we talk of, 
is almost spent and worn out." 

It was Pepys who urged that ships should be built 
of greater burden, stronger and beamier, for at that 
time the men-of-war needed to be girdled round the hulL 
They were crank-sided, could not well carry their guns on 
the upper decks, especially in bad weather, and not enough 
room was left for the carrying of stores and victuals. He 
gives the follovdng comparison between the two principal 
ships of the French, Dutch and English : 


Soil Roy all (more correctly Le Soldi Royal), 1940 tons. 
Royall Lewis {Le Royal Louis), 1800 tons. 
Besides these, two others were 140 feet long on the 
keel with 48 feet beam. 





The White Elephant, 1482 tons. 

Golden Lion, 1477 tons. 

The former was 131 feet long on the keel, the latter 
130 feet. Both had 46-9 feet beam, drew 19 feet 8 inches 
of water, and carried three decks. 


The Royal Charles, "with the girdUng of 10 inches 
measure," was 1531 tons. 

The Prince (says Pepys) " is full as big now girdled 
and as long on the gun deck as the Charles, but having a 
long rake they measure short on the keel or she would be 
1520 tons." 

It must be observed in reference to the above figures 
that the Dutch ships had a greater rake forward and would 
measure much bigger, being very beamy. Pepys men- 
tions that " the excellent French and Dutch ships with 
two decks are more in number and much larger than our 
third rates." 

The Soleil Royal mentioned above was a fine three- 
masted ship of the line, carrying 108 guns. She was a 
worthy example of the high state of excellence reached by 
the French naval architects of this period. She was lost, 
however, when the combined English and Dutch fleets in 
1692 defeated the French off Cape La Hogue. This was 
a decisive blow to another of those plans for the invasion 
of England, and the naval battle in which the French fleet 
was utterly destroyed has been regarded by historians as 
the greatest naval victory won by the English between 
the defeat of the Armada and the battle of Trafalgar. 

We give in Fig. 63 an illustration of the Royal Charles 
mentioned above. This delightful picture is from a photo- 


graph of a model in the South Kensington Museum. 
Built at Portsmouth in 1672 to the designs of Sir Anthony 
Deane, she carried 100 guns: her length was 136 feet, 
beam 46 feet, depth 18 feet 3 inches, draught 20 feet 6 
inches. The arms of England and the lantern that orna- 
mented her stern are still preserved in the Rijks Museum, 
Amsterdam, for the Royal Charles was one of those 
vessels which were either captured or destroyed when the 
Dutch came up to Chatham in 1667. In the beautiful 
model before us the ports are correctly gilded. The rake 
and length of the bowsprit are in accordance with the in- 
formation that has been handed down to us. At the 
extreme end of the latter will be seen the sprit topmast, 
up which the sprit topsail was hoisted. A jackstaff is at 
the top of the sprit topmast. The present model does 
not show topgallant yards, but as we know from Hey- 
ward they were found in the inventory of this ship. 
Below the sprit topmast and on the bowsprit will be 
noticed the spritsail yard now kept fixed to the bow- 

As to what vessels of the seventeenth century looked 
like under way the delightfully realistic picture which 
Mr. Charles Dixon has painted for our frontispiece will 
materially help our imagination. And here perhaps we 
may say a word regarding the subject of the flags carried 
at this period. After the union of England and Scotland 
in 1603 all British vessels flew the Union flag of the 
crosses of St. George and St. Andrew in the maintop for 
a time, English and Scotch ships also carrying their 
national colours in the foretop. Ensigns of red, white or 
blue with the St. George's Cross on a white canton next 
to the ensign staff were also commonly carried until the 
time of the Commonwealth. But on May 5, 1634, it 
was ordered that men-of-war alone were to fly the Union 
flag in future, and that merchantmen according to their 
nationality were to fly the St. George's or the St. Andrew's 

q 241 





flag merely. This rule ended in February, 1649, when 
Parliament directed men-of-war to fly as an ensign the 
St. George's Cross on a white field.* The Union flag 
was carried on the sprit topmast as shown in the frontis* 
piece, and to-day the Jack is still seen at the bows 
of our men-of-war, though they be built of wood no 


Edward Heyward in his book just mentioned gives 
still further details of contemporary ships. The rule which 
he mentions for ascertaining the length of the mainmast was 
that it should be half the length of the keel and once the 
length of the beam put together. The mainstay was to 
be in thickness half of the diameter of the mainmast. The 
shrouds were to be one half the thickness of the stay, and 
the topmast shrouds to be one half the main shrouds' 
thickness. One ton of hemp required three barrels of tar. 
As to the ship's boats of the Sovereign, her longboat 
measured 50 feet 10 inches long, 12^ feet broad, and 
^\ feet deep. Her pinnace was 36 feet long, 9^ feet 
broad, 3j feet deep. Her skifF was 27 feet long, 7 feet 
broad, and 3 feet deep. Fourth-rates only carried a long- 
boat and a pinnace, fifth-rates carrying simply a longboat, 
while sixth-rates had only a 22-feet boat. 

The Prince mentioned in the above list was the Prince 
Royal of James I.'s reign. Her career had been a dis- 
tinctly varied one. As originally launched she was the 
Victory belonging to Elizabeth's reign. She fought against 
the Armada, having been turned into a galleon two years 
before the fight. In 1610 as stated she had been rebuilt 
and called the Prince Royal, but this " rebuilding " was 
during this period something far more than any moderate 
adaptation. After the death of Charles I. her name was 
called during the Commonwealth the Resolution, and at 
the Restoration this was changed yet again to the Royal 

• "The Royal Navy," by W. Laird Qowes, London, 1898. Seep. 25, 
vol. ii. 



Piince, According to Le Sieur Dassie in his "L' Archi- 
tecture Navale " printed in Paris in the year 1677, Le ) 
Soleil Royal had a tonnage of 2500 as well as 120 guns 
and 1200 men. Le Royal Louis had the same tonnage 
and the same number of guns, but only a thousand men. 
He gives also a very full and interesting inventory of un 
vaisseau du premier rang of 2000 tons. Every detail is 
mentioned even to the ornements de chapelle. Very con- 
fusing is the naming of the three masts as used by the 
French at this time and embodied in Dassie's work. Thus, 
as we hinted in a previous chapter, the foremast is the 
viisaine, the main is the grand mast, while the mizzon is 
the mast d'artimont, or exactly the reverse of what we 
should have expected them to be named. From such a 
work as Dassie's and, some years later, of Jean Bernoulli 
in his " Essay d'Une Nouvelle Th^orie de la Manoeuvre 
des Vaisseaux," printed at Basle in 1724, we see how at 
last the scientific study of naval architecture had begun to 
make headway. The action of heavy bodies passmg through 
the liquid sea, the relation of speed to design, were being 
slowly understood. Finally in 1794 the same scientific 
treatment was applied to sails. In " A Treatise Concern- 
ing the True Method of finding the proper area of the 
sails for Ships of the Line and from thence the length of 
masts and yards," by F. H. af. Chapman, printed in 
London, the area of the sails in regard to the stability 
of ships is thoroughly entered into. 

The illustration in Fig. 64 is of a model of a Dutch 
man-of-war now in the Royal United Service Museum, 
Whitehall. It is supposed to be of contemporary date, 
belonging roughly to the period of Louis XI Vs. rule, 
1661-1715. The rigging may be relied upon, but the 
model is too broad in proportion to her length. The guns 
are also exaggerated in size, but for all that it may serve 
to assist the reader in visualising the ships of what was so 
important a maritime Power. The notable characteristic 

^ 243 




of the Dutch and French craft of the seventeenth century 
as opposed to the EngUsh was that the two former had 
their sterns terminating squarely, while the English 
rounded the lines of the stern above water more. This 
foreign characteristic of the square stern is everywhere 
noticeable in the contemporary paintings and engravings 
of Holland. Over and over again we see the overhanging 
stern gallery, with the transom stem below, going in (so 
to speak), for the gallery above to project out. We find 
it in the earliest yachts of Holland, in the Dutch East 
Indiamen as well as the ships of the line. The reader will 
recollect at an earlier period we referred to the " tumble- 
home " which had become a new phase in naval architecture 
consequent on the introduction of cannon on board ship. 
This during the ensuing two centuries had been overdone, 
so that the upper deck bore a ridiculously narrow propor- 
tion to the width of the ship at the water-line, but the 
Dutch in the height of their naval knowledge were the first 
of the nations to relinquish it. It is to the Dutch of the 
last part of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth 
centuries that we owe the beginnings of the fore-and-aft 
rig and of yachting as we mentioned earlier. But in order 
that our attention may not be distracted from the history 
of the squaresail, it will be more convenient to deal with 
the development of the smaller craft in Chapter IX. 

We have already referred to the great influence for 
good exercised on the English Navy by Dutch and 
French naval architects. Among the points of superiority 
which the smaller French craft possessed over ours was 
that their lower guns were as much as four feet above the^. 
water, an improvement that made for greater safety^ 
They could also stow four months' provisions, whereas 
our frigates were narrower and sharper, and carried their 
guns little more than three feet clear of the water, having 
space only for ten weeks' provisions. It was as improve- 
ments on these defects that the Resolution and Rupert had 


been built by Sir Anthony Deane. During tke reign of 
Charles II., also, Sk Philip Howard made an invention 
for sheatliing his Majesty's ships with lead in preference to 
using wooden boards with a layer of tar and hair between 
the sheath and the ship, the whole having been covered 
outside with a composition of sulphur, oil and other 
ingredients. The old method of sheathing with elm 
boards had been introduced by Hawkins during EUza- 
beth's reign, but it does not appear to have been successful, 
for in a report dated October 12, 1587, the chief ship- 
wrights state that the Bonaventure, which had been 
treated according to Hawkins' method, had decayed 
timbers under her sheathing. But the reader will 
recollect that as far back as the reign of Edward VI. 
the ships that voyaged to the North-East under Chan- 
cellor and Willoughby had part of theu- underbody 
covered with thin sheets of lead, while the ancients 
of the time of Caligula and even before, had also adopted 
this method of preserving the hulls of ships. So Howard 
was really a reviver rather than an inventor. 

Still, since complaint had been made that Hawkins' 
method necessitated frequent cleaning, and the roughness 
of the wood-sheathed bottom interfered with the sailing 
abilities, Howard's plan was adopted. The first experi- 
ment of using his milled lead sheathing was made on the 
Phcenix at Portsmouth in 1670-71, and afterwards on the 
Dreadnought^ the Henrietta, and others in 1672. The 
Phoenix was careened at Sheerness in 1673, after two 
voyages to the Straits, and inspected by the King himself. 
In the same year Howard's new method was finally 
adopted for the Navy by the Lords of the Admiralty. 
Considerable opposition was made by some critics, who 
rightly pointed out that the action of the lead was to 
corrode very rapidly the iron nails and rudder-irons of the 
ship, and eventually in 1682 the Navy Board reported 
against a further use of tliis sheatliing. 




An experiment of quite a different nature was made 
in 1674 in utilising cypress trees from the new colony of 
Virginia. They were said to be large enough for the 
masts of yachts, and both lighter and tougher than fir, 
which was then being used. It is curious how persistently 
the galley endeavoured, in spite of every discouragement, 
to make its reappearance in England. This, however, was 
owing to the success with which it had flourished in the 
Mediterranean. In 1666 the Duke of Florence presented 
Charles II. with two of the best galleys that could be built, 
one of which went from Leghorn to Tangier. Anthony 
Deane, the younger, subsequently built a galley called the 
James at Blackwall ; another, called the Charles^ was built 
at Woolwich, by Phineas Pett the younger, the date of both 
being 1676. They were classed in Pepys s " Register of 
the Royal Navy " as fourth-rates. From the naval papers 
of the period we find that 1000 loads of timber will build 
a third-rate of 1000 tons. A ship of 1000 tons costs £10 
a ton to build, and the life of a ship was about thirty 
years. Great merchant ships cost from £6 to £8 2*. 6rf. 
to build, but merchantmen of 250 tons cost from £5 to £7 
a ton. 

By the end of the seventeenth century the sailing ship . 
had reached a stage in development which, till the close 
of the eighteenth century, altered but little. Naval archi- 
tecture, thanks to French influence, was progressing. 
Eddystone lighthouse was built, and Dampier had under- 
taken his famous voyage to Australia. The naval 
authorities had by now become finnly convinced of the 
folly of the high-charged decks, with the enormous rake 
ascending, jfrom the low bows to the lofty stern. But 
another change was also beginning to take place. For 
some time it had been customary when a fleet of sliips 
voyaged in company to have them rigged as nearly as 
possible with spars and sails of the same size, so that in 
the event of anything carrying away, each ship would be 

'i'> * 

Fig. G4. a Dutch Man of-wau of about the End 
OF THE Seventeenth Century. 

p. 24<J. 













able to supply the other with a sail, or spar, or rope of the 
proper dimensions. Later, as ships became bigger and 
carried more sails and spars, this idea had been extended 
to the individual ship. Thus, soon after the Revolution, 
Cloudesley Shovel advocated the supplying of two spare 
topmasts to every ship, and fitting spritsails in such a 
manner that when necessity arose they might serve as 
main topsails. The yards, too, of spritsail, topsail, mizzen 
topsail, and main topgallant were to be made so as to be 
interchangeable. By about the beginning of the eighteenth 
century, the triangular headsails are seen on fuL -rigged 
Dutch ships, whilst the lateen mizzen still continues. The 
reader will recollect that this shaped headsail had first been 
introduced on the Dutch sloops of the sixteenth century, 
with their foresail working on a stay as to-day, having a sprit 
mainsail, resembUng that of the modern Thames barge, but 
with no jib for the present. Now, in the century we are 
discussing, the Dutchman uses the same shaped headsail 
for his big ships, the spritsail underneath the bowsprit 
still remaining. In course of the first half of the eighteenth 
century this innovatlonspread Xo France and to England. 
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, also, besides 
the fore staysails; main andTorefopmast staysails and naam 
topmast studding sails were in use in our ships. The cables 
were each 100 fathoms long, made of 21-inch hemp, and 
the bower anchors weighed 74 cwts. for a first-rate. The 
length of the longboats was 36 feet, the pinnaces 33 feet, and 
the skiff 27 feet. The heaviest guns were 42-pounders.* By 
the middle of the eighteenth century the staysails and 
triangular headsails had become quite common, and two 
instead of one spritsail are found under the bowsprit. 1 he 
sprit topmast disappears, but the jackstafF is used m its 
place to fly the Union Jack when at anchor, being taken 
m when under way, otherwise it would hinder the working- 

• " Life of Captain Stephen Martin, 1666-1740," edited by Clement R. 
. Markham, C.13., F.R.S., Nav^ Uecurds Society, \i>9o. See p. 21,. 





of the triangular headsails. An important change now 
takes place in the mizzen. The reader will recollect that 
for several hundred years it had been used in its Mediter- 
ranean triangular shape on European ships. Instead of the 
yard coming quite low down, as in Fig. 63 of Charles II.'s i 
ship, the angle the yard makes with the mizzen mast is 
nearer to a right angle. Thus, instead of the sail being 
triangular it is rectangular, having four sides instead of 
three. The next stage is to cut off that part of this sail 
which projects forward of the mast, though the yard itself is / 
still allowed to extend ahead of the mast without having any^ 
canvas on its forward end. The luff of the sail is laced to 
the mast, hoops not being used. Finally, by at least 1768, 
the portion of the yard still found without any canvas is 
lopped off, and the vangs which had been used all the 
time for the mainsail of the sloops are seen coming down 
from the peak to the stern. Also, following the example 
of the contemporary Dutch fore-and-afters, there is no 
boom. If the reader will now look at the mizzen of the 
corvette model in Fig. 69 he will see this penultimate 
stage clearly shown. The final stage comes later when a 
boom is added, and that, too, may be traced for its origin 
to the Dutch fore-and-afters, which, discarding the sprit 
extending diagonally across the mainsail, added a tiny 
gaff and a much longer boom, the sail being loose-footed. 
Instead of the long bowsprit of the early Stuarts, the 
middle of the eighteenth century saw this mast-like pro- 
jection cut into two pieces, so as to make bowsprit and 
Jib-boom. Topgallants now become far more frequently 
used. ^ ^ 

After the Revolution, at the end of James II. 's reign, the 
three ranks of Admiral, Vice- Admiral, and Rear- Admiral 
were established, and the practice of having red, blue, and 
white ensigns, which had been introduced during the time 
of Charles I., continued. These ensigns were shown on an 
ensign staff, each having a cross of St. George on a white 


field in the upper canton. The Jack flown on the staff on 
the bowsprit was blue with a white saltire and a red cross 
with white fimbriation over all. Signals were made, not 
by a combination of flags, but by changing the position 
of flags. 

When Queen Anne died in 1714, there were in our 
Navy seven first-rates, thirteen second-rates, forty-two 
third-rates, sixty-nine fourth-rates, forty-two fifth-rates, \ 
and twenty-four sixth-rates. As to the meaning signified \ 
by these classes, the first-rates were vessels of one hundred | 
guns, or upwards, carrying them on three decks. Second- ' 
rates carried from ninety to one hundred guns on three/ 
decks : third-rates had from sixty-four to eighty-four guni?^ 
on two complete decks : fourth-rates had from fifty to sixt;^ 
guns on two decks: fifth-rates had from thirty to forty-four 
guns, whilst sixth-rates carried only twenty to thirty guns. 
There were also in the service smaller vessels classed as 
sloops, and others classed as gun-brigs and bombs. The 
progress which had been going on in rigging, during the 
early years of the eighteenth century, continued in respect 
of size of tonnage and also in the weight of armament now 
carried. Regard, too, was paid to the proper seasoning of 
timber. The action of the Navy Board in 1719 estabUshed 
a scale of dimensions and tonnage for the construction of 
ships of the six separate rates, and this influence was felt 
for nearly a century after, although the establishment was ^ 
not always strictly adhered to. Improvements went on with l^ 
regard to internal structure and ventilation, and in order 
to counteract the injurious effects of bilge water. The 
result was that both the health of the ship herself and of 
her crew were improved when once the foul gases accumu- \ 
lating below had been overcome. Collaterally with the i 
progress of the science of naval architecture in England/ 
was the development in France. Ever since the time of 
Jean Baptiste Colbert, during the reign of Louis XIV., 
France had stood superior to any European Power hi ship- 





designing. Nor were English naval architects and ship- 
wrights slow to avail themselves of whatever opportunity 
presented itself for studying the lines and structure of the 
foreigner. Whenever one of the crack ships of the enemy 
became an English prize it followed that within the next 
few years an improved English man-of-war, based on the 
design of the foreigner, would be launched. As an exaniple 
of thebeautiful vessels which France was capable of building, 
about the middle of the eighteenth century, the illustration 
in Fig. 65 will at once be evidence. This is the Terrible, 
captured from the French in 1747, and afterwards passed 
into the EngUsh Navy. She was a two-decker with three 
masts, and carried 74 guns. Her gun-deck was 164 feet 
1 inch long, and her beam was 47 feet 3 inches, while 
her depth was 20 feet 7 J inches. Her tonnage worked out 
at 1590. The illustration has been taken from a contem- 
porary print in the Royal United Service Museum. 

Fig. 66 represents H.M.S. Royal George,^ of 100 
guns, one of the most famous ships of the eighteenth 
century. Her size — 2047 tons— alone makes her remark- 
able, apart altogether from her good looks. Her length 
on the keel was 143 feet 5 J inches, beam 51 feet 9^ inches, 
depth 21 feet 6 inches. Built at Woolwich she ended her 
days as tragically as another vessel we mentioned before, 
and owing to a similar cause. While she was being 
careened as she lay at anchor in Spithead for some repairs 
to her hull below the waterline, she sank on August 29, 
1782. To-day she is still famous as the ship in which 
Rear-Admiral Kempenfelt, together with nine hundred 
men, women, and children, went down to their graves. 
The illustration is taken from an engraving, by T. Baston, 
in ** Twenty-two Prints of several of the Capital sliips of 
his Majesties Royal Navy," in the Print Room of the 
British Museum. 

Still another experiment was made in 1761 in order to 
find some suitable method for sheathing ships' bottoms. \ 













At last lead had been finally discarded. But now the 
sensible plan of using copper was tried on the Alarm, 
a 32-gun frigate. Finding that not only did this preserve 
the ship's planking, but also increased the speed of the 
ship through the water, vessels of all classes were sub- 
sequently covered in the same way. The plates of 
copper were affixed to the hull, tough sheets of paper 
being placed in between the sheathing and the hull. 

Nelson's historic flagship, the Victory, of 100 guns, was i 
built in 1765. Her immediate predecessor of the same ' 
name was launched in 1735, being the finest first-rate of 
her time, until she was lost in a terrible storm off the 
,Alderney Race, every one of the 1000 souls on board 
perishing with her. The illustration of Nelson's Fictory 
m Fig. 67 was taken recently in Portsmouth Harbour 
where this fine old ship still swings to the tide. Her 
length is (measured on the gun-deck) 186 feet, beam 52 
feet, depth of hold 21 feet 6 inches, whilst her tonnage is 
2162, or slightly larger than the Eoyal George previously 
mentioned. The reader will notice the Jack flying in the 
place previously referred to. Very interesting to us who 
have traced its development is the stage at which the bow 
has arrived. Gone is the towenng-iirecastle, though the 
name still survives as designating the fore-part of even 
small cabined craft. Even the diminished- .raJ^e of the 
seventeenth century from bow to stern has disapj)eared 
too. In order that the reader may also obtain some idea 
of the stern, and the three lanterns which would have 
been part of the ship's inventory when she set out for the 
Mediterranean on her last voyage with Nelson, the 
illustration in Fig. 68 may be worthy of notice. It is 
only quite recently that the Admiralty have added these 
replicas, which look not a little incongruous as they tower 
above submarines and torpedo-boats churning up the 
water below. The flags flying in Fig. 67 were intended 
to represent Nelson's immortal signal It was quite 




recently discovered, however, that the wrong signals had 
been flown on Trafalgar Day each year, for the code of a 
far too modern date was reUed upon. This mistake has 
been rectified, and the correct flags are now flown on 
October 21. 

The illustration in Fig. 69 represents a corvette of 
about the year 1780. Corvettes were vessels having far 
less freeboard and without the high quarterdeck. They 
were ship-rigged and carried less than twenty guns. 
Those carried on the ship before us would be six- 
pounders. Her crew would number 125, her tonnage 
would be 340, her length on the gun-deck, 101 feet, 
length of keel, 85*5 feet, beam 28 feet, depth of hold 
12*5 feet. As to her canvas carried, the triangular head- 
sails with the two spritsails will be seen. In addition to 
her courses, she carries topsails, topgallants, and royals on 
the fore and main masts. The converted lateen has 
already been referred to, but it should be noticed that 
while she has on the mizzen a topsail, topgallant and royal, 
and also a crossjack yard, yet no sail is set on the latter, 
as it is to-day on a full-rigged ship. This yard had been 
in use since the beginning of the seventeenth century, and 
it was not until 1840 that a Yankee skipper took it into 
his head to introduce the sail which is known as the 
cro'jack. The French, since from this spar no sail was 
set, called it the ''barren yard" — vet^gue sec* It was 
during this century that the frigate proper as a fast cruiser 
was introduced into the EngHsh Navy. Still stirred to 
energy by the activity displayed by the French, the 
dimensions of English ships were constantly being in- 
creased during the last years of the eighteenth century. 
The capture, in 1792, of the fine three-master Commerce de 
Marseilles, with a tonnage of 2747, and a length of over 
200 feet, came as a welcome prize to our fleet which had 

• " Old Sea Wings, Ways and Words in the Days of Oak and Hemp," 
by Robert C. Leslie, London, 1890. 



nothing to equal her in respect either of size or armament 
Again the design embodied in her was carefully studied 
by our experts, and before the close of the century two 
important im prove ments were made Jn Enghsh jnen-of- 
war. The first was to cease placing the lower battery S03 
low down tS^he water. The reader will readily see thai 
if the enemy were to leeward— as in all probability he 
should be— our lower ports must necessarily be kept 
closed unless there were only such a faint draught of wind 
as scarcely caused the ship to heel over. The French 
were thus at a great advantage in being able to fire from 
every one of their guns dovm to the lowest tier. The 
second improvement consisted in giving our newer shjps a 
length far greater in proportion to the beam. 








' SHALL endeavour in this chapter 
^ I to conclude the narrative of the 
large sailing ship, all of whose sails, 
excepting her triangular headsails 
and the staysails and the new shape 
which we have seen the mizzen take, 
are square, and carried athwart the 
mast. Neither the fore-and-aft rig, 
nor those hybrid developments of 
squaresail and fore-and-aft rig, will 
be considered until the following 
chapter, in order that our atten- 

tion may not now be distracted 

from the older form, and also that we may be able 
presently to consider, without break of continuity, the 
story of that newer rig which had its origin during the 
sixteenth century. 

In 1801 the Union Jack was modified by the intro- 
duction of a saltire for the Union of Ireland with Great 
Britain. The white, red and blue admirals, with their 
corresponding ensigns, continued. Thus the Red Ensign 
had not become yet the exclusive use of the Merchant 
Service nor the White Ensign of the Navy, but all three 
colours were in use to indicate the rank and place of flag- 
officers. At Trafalgar we fought under the White Ensign 


solely. After the practice had grown up of the whole 
fleet, for the sake of convenience, flying one colour, the 
three were in 1850 abolished, and the White Ensign 
became the colour of the Royal Navy. 

One of the first war vessels to be laid down in the new 
century was the Caledonia, 205 feet long and of 2616 tons. 
This was in the year 1802, but she was not launched until 
six years later. Carrying 120 guns she was a first-rate, 
and was based on the design of the Commerce de Marseilles, 
which we mentioned in the last chapter. There is a model 
both of the Commerce de Marseilles and of the Caledonia 
in the Royal Naval College Museum, Greenwich. The 
latter was broken up only as recently as 1907. Up to the 
beginning of the nineteenth century ships of the Royal 
Navy were painted with blue upper works, bright yellow 
sides, and broad black strakes at the waterhne. The 
interior was generally painted red.* But Nelson had the 
hulls of his ships painted black with a yellow strake along 
each tier of ports, but with black port-lids, and this 
chequer painting distinguished all men-of-war, both at 
Trafalgar and after. White was soon introduced as a 
substitute for the yellow. This white band has survived 
to this day on many of our biggest sailing ships, and is 
well seen in Mr. Charles Dixon's sketch of the four-masted 
barque reproduced in Fig. 78. 

Among the innovations which came into use durmg 
the early years of the nineteenth century wxre the lifeboat 
and the prototype of the modern rocket life-saving appa- 
ratus. In 1774 Captain (afterwards Admiral) Schank, 
while stationed at Boston, built the first craft that ever 
possessed a sliding keel. This invention was put into 
actual use by the English fleet during the wars in which 
our country was engaged at the beginning of the century. 
By its means those ships thus fitted were able to sail 

♦ For tJie purpose of not showing too prominently the blood shed in 



closer to the wind without making so much leeway. 
They were made better on the helm, and they could 
take the ground with less possibility of damage. There 
is in the Greenwich Museum an excellent model of the 
50-gun frigate Cynthia, fitted with these sliding keels in 

The strenuous years that formed the beginning of the 
new century in which England was constantly at war, 
gradually increased the size of her Navy to the enormous 
total of 644 ships which was reached in 1813. When we 
mention that at the beginning of the present year, 1909, 
the British Navy, including certain snips not yet com- 
pleted, did not exceed 517 warships of all kinds, one can 
readily realise how great had been the extension of the 
fleet, and, in consequence, how great an incentive to ship- 
building and the seafaring life had been given. But this 
number had as quickly diminished to 114 four years later, 
when the outlook of peace seemed bright and hopeful. 
In 1812 the unfortunate war broke out between the 
United States and Great Britain, and for another two 
years naval activity was renewed. What the immediate 
result of the American war had on the development of 
the sailing ship is not difficult to estimate. As regards 
English shipbuilding, owing to the great success of the 
American frigates and their superiority to our own vessels, 
a sudden wave of enthusiasm swept over the British naval 
authorities for frigates. In the panic, this was pushed to 
foolish extremes, and bigger ships were cut down and 
converted into frigate-shape. In America, the building of 
frigates of such unusual size first called the attention of 
naval architects to the advantages and possibilities of 
large vessels. It was thus that the way was paved for 
the coming of the early clippers in 1851.* 

• For further matter regarding the American frigates, the reader is 
referred to " American Merchant Ships and Sailors," by William J. Abbot, 
New York, 1902 





• <^ 
3C — 



I \ 
















It is time now to refer to the powerful influence 
exercised over our naval architecture by Sir Robert 
Seppings. It was he who in 1804 introduced the round 
bow in place of the straight wall-like structure which had 
been inherited from the previous centuries. Similarly, 
instead of the square stern, he gave his ships a circular 
one. But more important still was the diagonal method 
of placing the timbers of a ship which he introduced in 
1800. Trie advantage of this was increased strength and 
ability to resist the hogging strains, which the E,gyptians 
also had to overcome.* A large model showing Seppings* 
method of construction will be found in the Greenwich 
Museum. The system, while no doubt being efficacious 
in preventing the " working " of a ship's component parts, 
must necessarily have added very considerably to her 
weight. It was about this time, too, that teak was used 
occasionally for the construction of ships. During the 
first quarter of the century whatever improvements were 
made in British naval architecture owed their origin 
almost entirely to the knowledge gained from the 
numerous prizes captured from the French. One of 
the finest ships ever built in France was the Sans Pareil, 
which we had taken from the enemy in 1794. She was 
of 2242 tons and carried 80 guns. (The reader will 
find a block-model of this ship in the Greenwich Museum). 
The influence which this vessel exercised over our naval 
architecture was not inconsiderable. So much admiration 
did she receive that as late as 1845 there was designed on 
similar lines and laid down at Devonport a British ship. 
She was never launched, however, as another Sans Pareih 
but while on the stocks was altered, her length was 
increased, and she was eventually given the addition of a 
screw propeller, and thus launched in 1851. 

The progress which had been made in the ships of the 
Royal Navy had its counterpart in the mercantile marine. 

* See pp. 36-37. 

R 257 



Gradually through the centuries since the Crusades had 
opened up the Mediterranean to English trade our 
ancestors had acquired bigger and bigger ships for the 
purpose of carrying merchandise. The discovery of the 
West Indies, of North America, the Newfoundland 
Fisheries, and subsequently the founding of the East 
India Company, had step by step developed the ships 
which were used for purposes of commerce. Especially 
favourable for merchant shipping had been the East and 
West Indian trade. The voyages and discoveries made 
by Dampier, Anson and Cook increased still further the 
scope of English trade, and, consequently, the need for 
both ships and seafaring men became greater. Wars 
obviously arrested the progress already made, but by 1821 
the tonnage of the shipping of the British Empire amounted 
to the significant sum of 2,560,203, in spite of the keen 
competition now made by the United States. The East 
India Company at the beginning of the nineteenth century 
occupied the position now held in the twentieth century 
by the principal companies owning the biggest liners to- 
day ; that is to say, the largest and finest merchant ships 
belonged to them. And profiting by the monopoly which 
they owned, paying very handsome profits, they could 
afford to build their ships well and strong. Consequently 
it is not to be wondered that the East Indiamen from the 
commencement of the century down to the last of their 
race became historical for their building and capabiUties. 
Fig. 70 shows the Newcastle, a well-known East Indiaman 
of the early part of the nineteenth century. 

During the eighteenth century brigs of about a couple 
of hundred tons had been used for coasting trade, and 
especially for carrying coals from Shields and Newcastle : 
but with the advent of the steam collier the days of these 
ships were numbered. The illustration in Fig. 71 is from 
the painting by Turner in the National Gallery entitled 
Spithead: Boat's Crew recovering an Anchor. It was 


exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1809, and is here 
included in order to provide a contemporary picture of 
the fiiU-rigged ships of the beginning of the nineteenth 


Not till about 1810 was iron introduced for knees, 
breast-hooks and pillars, although the use of iron had 
been tried for the whole structure in a small boat as far 
back as 1787. The real introduction of building ships of 
iron occurred in 1829, yet it was not till the 'forties that 
opposition was entirely swept aside and iron came to be 
recognised as a suitable material for ships. 

But we have digressed from the period before us. If 
the East India trade was a monopoly, commerce with the 
West Indies was unfettered by any such condition. Not 
unnaturally, therefore, competition was keen on this route, 
and as a result a number of excellent cargo-carrying ships 
were built, able to endure the trying conditions of the 
Atlantic without being deficient in the virtue of speed. 
The illustration in Fig. 72, taken from a print dated 1820, 
in the British Museum, will give some idea of the appear- 
ance of a contemporary West Indiaman. Gradually the 
similarity between purely mercantile and exclusively naval 
ships was disappearing, and we shall see presently how 
this gulf was widened still further. 

Sir Robert Seppings was succeeded by Captain Sir 
William Symonds, R.N., who was Surveyor to the Royal 
Navy from 1832 to 1847, years full of importance in the 
history of the sailing ship. We have referred more than 
once to the slavish copying of French models which had 
been a feature of our naval architecture. This was now 
to end. Just as before, and many times after, England 
had shown herself to possess a genius not so much for 
inventiveness as for improving on the ideas of others, so 
now she began to design and build vessels that could not 
be surpassed even by the French themselves. During 
Symonds' regime the golden age of the wooden walls of 




England was reached. It was he who was responsible for 
the design of such as the Femon (fifty guns), the 
Queen, and about one hundred and eighty others. Sea- 
worthiness combined with speed were their outstanding 
virtues, and these he obtained by improving their under- 
water lines and making them less heavy and clumsy.* 
Internally the ships were constructed so as to provide 
more room and air. Symonds completed the work of 
Seppings in getting rid of the mediasval stern which had 
Ungered with certain modifications for so long a period. 
Instead of the circular, he gave his ships an elliptical 
stern, and devised a system whereby not only were the 
different spars of one ship interchangeable, but the spars 
of different ships and different classes of ships. There is 
a very fine large model of his Queen in the Greenwich 
Museum which has been rigged with the greatest regard 
to accuracy in every possible detail, so perhaps in studying 
her we shall get as good an example of Symonds' ships as 
we can desire. Built in 1839, this 110-gun ship had a 
tonnage of 3104. Her length was 204 feet 2^ inches, her 
breadth 60 feet 0^ inch, her depth 23 feet 9 inches, and she 
carried a crew of 900. She had been laid down as early 
as 1833, and her name had originally been the Eoyal 
Frederick, but after the accession of Queen Victoria she 
was named Queen at her launching. Later, in 1859, she 
was given the addition of a screw propeller. 

In the Greenwich model she is seen as a sailing ship 
pure and simple, with three decks. As to her rigging I 
have had the pleasure of talking with more than one of 
those who served in this, the first three-decker that was 
launched during the reign of Victoria. One of the first 
points that strikes one is that the Queen is seen to have 
rehnquished the historic hempen cable for the chain. The 

• For some of the facts in connection with this period I am indebted 
to articles by the late Sir W. Laird Clowes in his monumental history ol 
*' The Royal Navy," and in Traill and Mann's "Social England." 







n I 















rounded bow instead of the square shape already alluded to 
is immediately obvious. The yard of the spritsail athwart 
the bowsprit still remains, although this sail remained 
longer in the merchant service than in the Navy, being 
used but rarely in the latter at this late period. She 
possesses a bowsprit in three parts, i.e., bowsprit proper, 
jib-boom and flying-boom. To encounter the downward 
strain the ship by now has also a dolphin-striker. The 
Queen carried stun'sails (studding-sails) of course, square 
in shape, which were often weighted down by shot at the 
outboard end. Many merchant ships of that time, how- 
ever, had them cut not square but triangular, and these 
were then set, not as the modern yacht sets her spinnaker 
with the apex of the triangle at the top, but at the bottom. 
In the edition of " Falconer's Marine Dictionary " revised 
by Burney, and pubUshed three years before the Queen 
was laid down, he speaks of and illustrates stun'sails only 
for the courses, topsails, and t'gallant sails. Royal stud- 
ding sails most probably never were seen, although I 
notice that E. W. Cooke, R.A., whose life was covered 
by the period between 1811 and 1880, who was one of 
the most faithful marine artists of the time, whose father 
was well known as an engraver of Turner s pictures, who 
himself was also at one time largely engaged on similar 
work, has an illustration showing a British frigate with 
both t'gallant and royal stunsls. It seems unUkely that 
so accurate an artist as Cooke should make such a mis- 
take, although the weight of evidence is decidedly against 

Falconer says that lower studding sails were used on 
the main and fore. The booms were generally hooked on 
to the chains by a gooseneck, and kept steady by a guy. 
Topmast and t'gallant studding sails were spread along 
the foot by booms which slid out from the yards. This is 
well seen in the Queen and many another model which 
the reader will no doubt have examined. In a similar 






manner the head of the sail had smaU sliding yards for the 
same purpose. The sail on the mizzen mast now called a 
driver or spanker was chiefly used when on a wmd, being 
usually stowed when running. The boom will be found to 
project very far over the stern, even to an almost incredible 
extent, yet this is quite accurate for the period. As is 
still the custom, the gafF was kept up when the sail was 
not in use, contrary to the practice on a modern cutter- 
rigged vessel. The origin of this sail we have seen develop 
from the old lateen, and modified in its transition by 
Dutch influence. Now, one characteristic of the Dutch- 
man was his love of brails, and even when the boom was 
added and the diagonal sprit taken away from this sail on 
the little fore-and-afters the brailing system clung tena- 
ciously to the sail. We have a very good instance of 
this in the mainsail of the bawley (see Fig. 86), which has 
neither boom nor sprit, but which can be brailed up all 
the same. The barge has a sprit but no boom, and stows 
her sail by brailing. When this sail came to be used as 
the driver on square-rigged ships and the boom was also 
added, using a loose-footed sail, the brails still survived as 
we see them on the Queen. In furling the driver, there- 
fore, the brail hauled the sail to the mast : then in order 
to make a neat job of it a kind of clew garnet drew the 
leach end of the foot diagonally across the sail to the niast 
also. This will be noticed in many contemporary prints 
of this period and earlier. I have talked with one old 
sailor who remembers, when the ship had got into the 
favourable trade-wind, not merely setting every stitch of 
canvas the vessel had to put up, but even stepping the 
masts of the ship's boats lying on deck and hoisting the 
sails of these boats to drive the ship along yet faster still. 
The reader may remember that Nelson s Victory, one of 
the fastest line-of-battle ships of her day, went into action 
at Trafalgar with studding sails set. 

We have already shown that it was not long m the 



new century before iron was introduced in connection with 
shipbuilding, though it was some time before it was able 
to take the place of wood for the hulls of ships. By the 
'thirties steam was becoming gradually to be reckoned 
with as a serious menace to sail, and in the Navy the 
Tartarus, of four guns and a tonnage of 523, was classed 
as a paddle sloop. Nevertheless, paddle-wheel steamers 
attached to the fleet were regarded with scorn and spoken 
of as " dirty old smoke-jacks." As a distingiiished naval 
officer and explorer, happily still with us, Adniiral Moresby, 
says : ** There was obviously no future for this type in the 
service, and sails would continue to waft us as they had done 
from the beginning. - So we thought ; but one day a long, 
low craft, barque-rigged, and possessing no outward sign 
of a steamer but the funnel, joined the fleet. She was the 
Rattler, the first man-of-war screw-ship. We viewed her 
with interest but did not reahse her significance. Pitted 
against her in every trial was the Alecto — a paddle-sloop of 
equal tonnage and horse-power— the Battler an easy first 
in all circumstances. Finally they were lashed stern to 
stern in a * pull devil, pull baker ' grip, and ordered to 
put forth all their strength to see which could tow the 
other — a strange scene which I well remember. It was a 
calm day, with a long, heaving swell. Alecto's paddles 
were revolving and churning the foam like a whale in a 
flurry, while a slight ripple under the Rattler's stem alone 
showed that there was power at work. . . . Alecto, in 
spite of frantic struggles, was dragged slowly astern, and 
the era of the screw had begun.''* The same author 
relates an amusing instance as showing the manner in 
which steam was contemplated by the old school. A cer- 
tain captain was bringing his ship into harbour under 
steam and sail. As he ran up he shortened sail and came 
to anchor in handsome style, but unfortunately forgot that 

• " The Navy Sixty Years Ago/' by Admiral Moresby, in the National 

Review of December 1908. 







Sailing ships 

his engines were still going, with a result that could only 
spell disaster I 

There was between the naval ships of the 'forties and 
those of the time of Charles II. a similarity a hundredfold 
closer than that which can be found to exist between the 
former and those of King Edward's ships to-day. With a 
change in ships came a change in personnel. " The officers 
of the early 'forties," writes Admiral Moresby, " with few 
exceptions, were content to be practical sailors only. They 
had nothing to do with the navigation of the ship or the 
rating of the chronometers. That was entirely in the 
hands of the master, and no other had any real experience 
or responsibility in the matter. For example — I recall a 
captain, whose ship was at Spithead. He was ordered by 
signal to go to the assistance of a ship on shore at the back 
of the Isle of Wight. In reply he hoisted * Inability. The 
master is ashore.' He was asked, * Are the other officers 
aboard ? ' and signalled * Yes.' But to the repeated order, 
• Proceed immediately,' he again hoisted * Inability,' and 
remained entrenched in this determination until a pilot was 
sent to assist him." 

But to come back to the merchant service, to the old 
East Indiamen " with their stately tiers of sails and splen- 
did crews of trained seamen," although they were much 
finer in their lines and less unhandy than the vessels in 
the Royal Navy of this period, their rig was in most 
respects akin to the latter.* They carried three courses — 
foresail, mainsail and cro' jack, three topsails (in each of 
which there were three or four reefs), and three t'gallant 
sails and royals, or twelve sails on the three masts. The 
fore-and-aft sails were : on the bowsprit and jib-boom, a 
fore topmast staysail, an inner jib and outer jib and flying 
jib. Below the bowsprit was set on the spritsail yard, 

• See an interesting article by Mr. Frank T. Bullen on '* Deep-Sea 
Sailing" in the Yachting Monthly of August 1907, to which I am indebted 
for some details of information. 



what the reader has been accustomed through these 
chapters to know as the " spritsail," but which m the 
nineteenth century, even though triangular hcadsails were 
more in evidence than before, still continued, though 
known as a ** water sail," or " bull-driver." Leslie, m his 
" Old Sea Wings, Ways and Words in the Days of Oak 
and Hemp," says that spritsails were not only used when 
going free but when on a wmd. The reef points were 
placed diagonally so that when reefed that part of the sail 
nearest to the sea was narrower than the upper part Two 
circular holes were cut, one in each corner, so that when 
the ship plunged her bows into a sea the water could run 
out and not spht the canvas. Mr. Bullen says that this 
sail was not of much use, nor could he understand why it 
was carried at all, as it always had to be furled as soon as 
the ship began to pitch a little. However, this last and 
final relic of mediaevaUsm has at last departed for good, 
although it dated back for its origin to the artemon of 
classical times. Even when the sprit topmast had dis- 
appeared, the sprit topsail was retained for some time by 
placing it below the bowsprit instead of above, but fiu-ther 
forward of the spritsail proper. 

Between the fore and main masts of the East India- 
men were the main topmast staysail, main topgallant stay- 
sail and main royal staysail. Between the mam and 
mizzen were the mizzen topmast staysail, and mizzen 
t'gallant staysail, but a royal was seldom set on this niast. 
Abaft came the spanker or driver, often with the addition 
on the after-leach of a ring-tail. Stun'sles, too, were used. 
But in those days although these East Indiamen carried 
more hands than a sailing ship of Uke size does to-day, yet 
every night at sunset all light sails were taken off her and 
the ship was snugged down for the night. Still the old 
bluff-bowed East Indiaman had had its day when the 
young RepubUc of the United States, encouraged by 
the opportunity which freedom frem war now afforded, 
^^ ^ 265 



introduced on the sea ships with cHpper bow that Hterally 
cleft the waves instead of hitting them and retarding the 
passage of the hull through the water. With a freedom 
of mind which has ever characterised the American, both 
as a nation and an individual, the marine architects on the 
other side of the Atlantic threw convention still further 
to the winds by modifying the design of the stem in such 
a way that instead of squatting and holding the dead 
water the ship slid through it cleanly with a minimum of 
resistance. Possessing unlimited supplies of timber, they 
were in a position to build ships at a far lower rate than 
we in this country. In fact, so much was this the case 
that in England between the years 1841 and 1847 no fewer 
than forty shipbuilders went bankrupt in Sunderland alone. 
The one object of the American designer was to build a 
ship that should sail every other craft off the seas and so 
obtain the maximum of trade-carrying. Besides the 
improvement in bow and stern they lengthened the ship 
till she became five and six times longer than in breadth. 
This gave an opportunity of adding a fourth mast to the 
ship and to carry more sails. The sails themselves were 
improved in cut, being no longer mere bags to hold the 
wind, but of a " close-textured, dazzhngly- white canvas." 
In exact contradistinction to the East Indiamen, these 
Yankee ships did not reef down in anticipation of the gale 
that was to follow hours after, but took in sail reluctantly. 
The part played bjf the American cUppers during the 
period that saw the close of the great wars and the begin- 
ning of the American Civil War is one of vast importance 
to the development of the sailing ship of any size. Even 
when steamers began to cross the Atlantic in 1840, these 
wonderful clippers were able to cross in about a fortnight. 
In every way superior to the old cotton-ships rumiing 
between New York and Havre in the early 'thirties, the 
cUppers of the 'forties and 'fifties were seaworthy as well 
as fast. One of the most famous was the Flying Cloud 



built in 1851, which performed the sensational run of 427 
knots in twenty-four hours when on a passage from New 
York to San Francisco. The Sovereign of the Seas did 

even better still. 

But yet again the English genius for improving on 
other peoples' ideas showed itself at a critical point in the 
history of shipbuilding. Shipbuilders and architects put 
their heads together and decided to meet the American 
on his own terms. If he had built clippers that had flown 
across the sea, it was their duty to build something that 
would fly faster still ; so a new chapter in British shipping 
begins, and headed by ]Mr. Richard Green, the famous 
Blackwall shipbuilder and shipowner, England built for 
herself the real thing in clippers, quite early in the 
'sixties. The Challenger was in 1850 laid down in 
Messrs. Green's yard to sail against the American 
Challeiige, in an ocean race from China, and won. 
Besides Messrs. Green, other British firms entered the 
contest and built splendid clippers, amongst whom may 
be mentioned Messrs. J. Thompson & Co., of Aberdeen, 
who founded the well-known line of Aberdeen clippers ; 
Messrs. Steele, of Greenock,and Messrs. Scott, of Greenock. 
Built of teak planking with iron frames, these new vessels 
were made to last, unlike the American ships, whose 
life was quite short, built as they were merely out of soft 
stuff*. The enormous spars which the new British ships 
were given caused no little surprise at that time, but 
they managed to carry them none the less. The Great 
Republic^ launched in the early 'fifties, was the first vessel 
to carry double topsails. Owned and built in America, 
she was 805 feet long, 53 feet broad, 30 feet deep, and had 
a tonnage of 3400. She carried also double t'gallant sails 
as well as staysails, and was barque rigged, haying 4500 
square yards of canvas. So perfectly was she rigged that 
she was handled by a crew of 100. She was chartered 
by the French Government to carry troops to the 






Crimea,* had four decks and was strengthened with iron 

But about the year 1853, we enter upon the final and 
most perfect stage of the sailing ship. Spurred on by 
competition and necessity, builders and architects haS 
been compelled to put forth their best and to get right 
away from the old-fashioned ruts. So now wood at last 
was to give place to iron as the material for constructing 
sailing ships as well as steamers. In this year Messrs. 
Scott of Greenock built the iron sailing ship Lord of the 
Isles which, three years later, beat two of the American 
crack clippers, though nearly double her size, in the race 
from Foo Choo to London. The adoption of iron meant 
a saving of about a third of the weight of the hull ; more- 
over, as ships became longer, increased structural strength 
was found to be lacking in wood.t As we saw in the time 
of Charles II., English oak had been getting gradually so 
scarce as to put us at a serious disadvantage in competi- 
tion with such a well- wooded region as North America. 
The gold rush to CaUfornia in the 'fifties, and to Australia, 
gave a tremendous impetus to shipping. The reader must 
recollect that by this time there were no railways across 
the American continent, and so when the inhabitants of 
the Eastern States of America decided to go west, they 
could only go vid Cape Horn. This was the chance for 
the clipper ship to show her superiority to her predecessors, 
and in these voyages she soon showed that speed meant 

But we must come now to the influence which the 
China tea trade had on the saiHng ship. I understand 
that tea is a commodity which, as long as it is kept in a 

• See " La Navigation Commerciale au X1X« Si^cle," by Arabroise 
Colin, Paris, 1901. 

t "Ancient and Modern Ships," part ii., "The Era of Steam, Iron 
and Steel," p. 24, bj Sir George C. V. Holmes, K.C.V.O., C.B.. London, 
1906. * i p 





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ship's hold, quickly loses its delicate flavour and quality. 
Consequent on this, and the desire on the part of London 
merchants to obtain each year the first portion of the new 
tea crop at the earliest possible moment, it was to their 
interest to encourage a quick passage. Therefore enor- 
mous prizes were held out as an inducement, and the 
keenest rivalry existed between different ships in the race 
home. Solent regattas, the international race from Dover 
to Heligoland, even the famous race a few years ago 
across the North Atlantic look ridiculous when one 
thinks of the excitement that reigned on board during a 
race all the way from China to the River Thames. For 
a long time the American ships had been successful. 
Before the introduction of iron such craft as the Sea 
Witch, a cUpper built in 1842, of 907 tons register, and 
carrying 1100 tons of China tea,* caused tremendous 
jealousy among the British skippers. In 1853 the 
Challenge had sailed from Canton to Deal in 105 days, 
though in the same year the English Chrysolite cUpper 
sailed from Canton to Liverpool in 106 days. For a few 
years the Americans had the best of the competition ; but 
before the 'fifties had ended the China trade had been 
won by British clippers, and the American Civil War of 
1861-1865 dealt a fatal blow to their clippers as rivals to 
ours. But none the less those keen races to England did not 
diminish. The rivalry which had existed between nation 
and nation now continued between ship and ship, between 
skipper and skipper, shipowner and shipownei. This led 
to the finest development of sailing ships, and as long as 
the word remains in the English language, so long will 
these clipper races remain famous alike for the »kill as for 
the sporting instinct in the crews that got them home in 

record time. 

Among the most celebrated ships of the 'sixties were 

♦ ** The British Mercantile Marine," by Edward Blackmore, London, 



the Black Ball liners Flying Cloud and Scomber g; the 
Aberdeen clipper liners Thermopylce, Thyatera ; whilst 
among the China clippers were the Sir Lancelot, which 
was lost in the Bay of Bengal in a cyclone in 1896, the 
Black Adder and the Cutty Sark. Other famous tea 
clippers were the Ariel, Taeping, Serica, Fiery Cross and 
Taitsing. The first two of these will be found in Fig. 73, 
in which they are seen off the Lizard on September 6, 18G6. 
They started together with Serica from Foo-choo on May 
80, and lost sight of each other till they reached the English 
Channel. Taeping arrived in the London Dock (the 
same day she had passed the Lizard) at 9-45 p.m., while 
Ariel arrived at the East India Dock at 10-15 p.m., or 
with half an hour's difference after racing for over three 
months on end. Serica arrived only a few hours later. In 
the thrilling picture before us, these two ships are seen with 
stun's'ls and staysails set. The foretopmast staysail in 
both ships is stowed since the foresail with its projecting 
stun'sl would otherwise blanket and render it useless. 
The improved lines at bow and stern to which we referred 
just now are here seen at their best. Two of the 
fastest sailing vessels ever built were the Thermopylae and 
the Sir La?icelot. The former especially, had a marvellous 
capacity for speed. In one day, in the year 1870, she 
made a run of 330 knots, or 380 statute miles, being an 
average of 16 miles an hour. The Sir Lancelot, for seven 
consecutive days, kept up an average of over 300 miles a 
day. It was the Thermopyke, which in 1869 was the first 
tea ship home, having made the passage in 91 days, but 
the Sir Lancelot presently eclipsed even this wonderful 
passage in 89 days, being the fastest clipper ever built. 

The Cutty Sark was not as fast as the Thermopylae and 
Sir Lancelot, but in 1872, although she had her rudder 
carried away on the voyage, she ran home from Shanghai in 
122 days. The Thermopylce was a composite clipper of 
947 tons register. She was 210 feet long by 36 feet beam 


and 21 feet deep. She was designed by Mr. Waymouth 
for Messrs. Thompson & Co. The Sir Lancelot was, like 
the Thermopylce, a composite ship, and was built by 
Messrs. Steel, of Greenock, for Mr. James McCunn. She 
was 886 tons register, 197 feet long, 33 feet 7 inches broad 
and 21 feet deep. When fully laden with 300 tons of 
ballast and 1430 tons of tea, she drew 18 feet 7 inches of 
water forward and 2 inches more aft. Her complement 
was 30, and when in racing trim she spread more than 
an acre of canvas. Her best run in twenty-four hours was 
of 354 miles. The article contributed recently by Mr. 
BuUen to the periodical already mentioned set on foot an 
interesting correspondence, in which some valuable facts 
were brought out by those who had actually served on 
these clipper ships. And since the days of man are but 
three score years and ten, and before many more decades 
have run all those who went to sea in these magnificent 
ships will have passed away, I have thought it worth while 
to preserve here some of their recollections. The authors 
having adopted pseudonyms, I am unable to give their 

names. *- , ^ , 

One correspondent states that he remembers to have 

sailed 368 miles in one day, and 1000 miles in three days. 

One ship made a passage from the Start to the Ridge 

Lightship (30 miles from the mouth of the Hooghly) m 

86 days. This was the Northampton, owned by Messrs. 

Soames and Co., of London. But other ships, including 

Messrs. Green's Alnwick Castle, did it in 69 days. On 

September 23, 1863, the Hotspur arrived at Madras m 

79 days. ^ _ . 

The illustration in Fig. 74 is taken from a model 
in the South Kensington Museum, and represents the 
iron clipper Stonehouse. It will be noticed she is ship- 
rigged; she was launched at Pallion in 1866. She has 
a full poop and topgallant forecastle, with considerable 
accommodation for carrying first-class passengers and 


\ii M 


cargo. Her displacement at load line is 2600 tons ; her 
actual tonnage worked out at 1298 ; her length 220-5 feet, 
breadth 37 feet, depth 22 66 feet, and her load draught 
19*25 feet. It will be noticed that she has double topsails, 
and her lines will give one an Adequate idea of the famous 
cUppers of the 'sixties. 

The effect of the opening of the Suez Canal in the 
year 1870 was to place most of the trade to the East into 
steamers, which by now had become the deadliest enemy 
of the sailing ship. It would have been impossible to have 
carried on the trade in frozen food to-day in these fine old 
ships, and sentiment had necessarily to give way to the 
exacting dictates of commerce ; but for a long time before 
1870, and for some time after opening the canal, the 
traffic to India, Australia, and New Zealand was carried 
on in sailing ships, and the same keen rivalry to make the 
best passage continued. The Atlantic emigrant traffic 
also continued to be carried in sailing ships ; but the 
ceaseless progress of the big steamshi]^ lines, and the com- 
petition which lowered the fares for steerage passengers, 
drove still another nail in the sailfng ship's coffin. And 
yet, in regard to speed, these ships would sail to the east 
or the west with a regularity equal to most modern tramp 

The beautiful illustration in Fig. 75 is from a photo- 
graph of the celebrated Macquarie. She is an iron barque, 
and was built in 1875 by Messrs. R. k H. Green of 
London. Her registered tonnage is 1977, her length 
269-8 feet, her beam 40-1 feet, and her depth 28*7. In 
her day she was a famous beauty, but now she has changed 
her name and nationaUty. Known as the Fortuna she is 
registered at Sandefjord and flies the Norwegian flag. 
The reader will remark the old-fashioned white band 
introduced soon after the Battle of Trafalgar, and men- 
tioned early in the present chapter. 

The Desdemonay seen in Fig. 76, was built in 1875 by 

Photo. Hiiyhes 4 St. II, I.hl. 

Fig. 75. The Iiion Barquk " Macquakie." Biilt in 1875. 

p. 272. 



Fig. 76. The " Desdemona." 

Photos, lluyhei ()'• Ron, Ltd. 

Fig. 79. The "Queen Margaret." ^.273. 


Messrs. W. H. Potter & Co. of Liverpool. Constructed of 
iron, she is ship-rigged and has a registered tonnage of 
1564, and is British owned. Her length is 242 feet, beam 
87*7 feet, and depth 22 9 feet. As she is running before 
the wind, her head-sails have been stowed. As the reader 
is probably aware, ships usually when "running their 
easting dovm " haul up a point or two, so as to bring the 
wind on the quarter, in order that all sails may be allowed 
to draw and none allowed to blanket the other. Thus 
after running a certain distance with the wind on one side 
they gybe her and bring the wind on the other quarter. 
The photograph was taken recently off Cape Horn. 

As the largest British saiUng ship of the year 1890 we 
may mention the Liverpool of 3330 tons register. Ship- 
rigged and built of iron with steel beams she was given 
two decks, whilst her length came to 333*2 feet, breadth 
47*9 feet, and depth 26*5 feet. The five-master France, 
built on the Clyde for a Bordeaux firm in 1890, with the 
large tonnage of 3784, must also be mentioned as a 
famous barque of the 'nineties. Her length is 344 feet, 
beam 49 feet, and she was built of steel throughout, masts 
and yards as well. So great a capacity do her holds 
possess that she is capable of carrying 6100 tons of cargo. 
Another large French sailing vessel is the Bunker que, 
measuring 105 metres long and 13-9 metres wide. Her 
sail area is no less than 4550 square matres. The illustra- 
tion in Fig. 77 is from a photograph of the Olive Bank. 
Here she is seen with the following sails reading from 
forward to aft: On the bowsprit she carries flying jib, 
outer jib, inner jib, and fore topmast staysail. * On her 
foremast she has foresail, lower and upper fore-topsails, 
lower and upper fore t gallant sails, and fore royal. On 
her main she has mainsail, lower and upper main topsails, 
lower and upper main t'gallants and main royal. On her 
mizzen she has besides her course, double topsails and 
double t gallants, the royal being seen half furled. On the 

S 273 






jigger she carries a driver (or spanker) with topsail. She 
is a four-masted barque, and her registered tonnage is 
2824. Built in 1892 of steel by Messrs. Maekie k Thom- 
son at Glasgow, she is 326 feet long, 43 feet broad, 
24|^ feet deep, and is British owned. The illustration in 
Fig. 78 and in colour on the cover is at once realistic and 
symbolical, with the four-funnelled Mauretania four miles 
astern chasing the poor sailing ship from the seas which 
for so long a time she has adorned as a creature of infinite 
beauty and an eternal joy to those who have eyes to see 
and emotions to be thrilled. 

Our last illustration before we say good-bye to the 
large sailing ship is the Queen Margaret in Fig. 79. This 
is a steel, four-masted barque. She was built in 1893 by 
Messrs. A. McMillan & Son, Ltd., at Dumbarton. Her 
registered tonnage is 2144, her length 275 feet, her beam 
42*2 feet, and her depth 24 feet. The photograph was 
taken only the other day from a passing vessel off Cape 
Horn. Most modern sailing ships of any size are now four 
masters ; but, omitting entirely the large seven-masted 
schooners of America, there are a few square-rigged ships 
with five masts. When that is so they are named thus, 
reading from forward to aft : foremast, mainmast, middle, 
mizzen, and jigger. It is a circumstance all too true that, 
owing to the enormous advance of steam, both seamen 
and seamanship are nowadays hard to find in our country. 
The best deep-sea sailing-men are the Germans, who 
own the biggest five-masted sailing ships afloat. The 
Potosi, for instance, with five masts and belonging to 
Hamburg, is one of the very largest sailing ships ever 
launched. It is an undeniable fact that this ship has made 
eleven consecutive voyages between Hamburg and Peru 
in the average time of five months and twenty days, in- 
cluding stay in harbour, making an average rate of travel 
while at sea of eleven knots per hour, and it is not sur- 
prising to hear that this now stands as the world's record 


for the deep-sea sailing ship. The largest sailing ship 
afloat is also a German five-master, the Preussen, Built 
of steel in 1902 by Messrs. J. C. Tecklenborg at Geeste- 
miinde, she is 4078 feet long, 536 feet broad, and 27*1 feet 
deep, and is ship-rigged. Between this ultra-modern craft 
and that quaint prehistoric specimen we saw from the 
Egyptian jar in Fig. 3 what little connection is there, 
save for the one solitary fact that both depend on water 
for their buoyancy and on wind for their propulsion ! For 
not only has wood disappeared as the material for ribs and 
skin, but chain is now used for topsail sheets and slings. 
(Slings are used to suspend the lower yards, the upper 
yards being sent down when necessary.) Spars and masts 
are made of steel, wire has taken the place of much of 
the rope that was used. Shrouds and stays are of wire, 
rigging screws are used instead of lanyards and of dead- 
eyes. All the brace-pendants except the lower ones are of 
wire, even to the royal and skysail braces, so that the 
greater part of the rigging of a ship is now done in harbour 
ashore by skilled mechanics. The result is that " marlin- 
spike seamanship " is fast disappearing and getting under 
way to join the spritsail, oak and hemp of other days. Only 
among the somewhat diverse class of fishermen, yachtsmen, 
and the seafaring men from Scandinavia and up the Baltic, 
does it survive with any outward signs of life at all. 

We have seen the beginning of the bowsprit with its 
enormous rake to carry the artemon ; we have watched it 
continue through the Tudors and Stuarts as practically 
an additional mast steeved at a considerable angle. 
Gradually the angle has got smaller and smaller until 
now in the twentieth century in the latest ships, it is much 
more nearly horizontal. We saw this spar become divided 
into two, and later into three parts — flying jib-boom, jib- 
boom, and bowsprit. To-day, though it is made of iron 
or steel, it has gone back to be of one piece. We wit- 
nessed the introduction of bonnets ; they also have gone 






except in Norway, Norfolk, and the Thames barge. The 
studding sails which Raleigh spoke of are scarcely ever 
seen, although in the 'sixties they were prominent features 
of the clippers when getting every ounce of power out of 
the ship. No doubt their awkwardness, and the necessity 
of having a first-class helmsman to prevent the ship 
swerving suddenly off her course, had most to do with 
their departure. Convenience, too, in handling so much 
canvas up the mast led to the introduction of the topsails 
and topgallants, being cut in half and used double, though 
on the mizzen a single topsail is frequent. The gradual 
introduction of skysails during the last hundred years has 
continued till they are found often on fore, main, and 
mizzen, while the staysails, which were such characteristic 
features of the eighteenth century Dutchmen, are now 
used freely on most of the stays. Nor has the change 
been confined to the spars, sails, and rigging. Some of 
the Gallic vessels of Csesar's time — so he records — were 
fitted with iron cables. Then, as the reader knows, rope 
came in, and hemp remained for centuries until, roughly, 
1800. The introduction of the chain, then, has been 
merely a revival. Lead sheathing was used by the 
ancients, forgotten for many centuries until the Spanish 
restored its use in the fifteenth century, and the English 
in the sixteenth. It was forgotten again until the seven- 
teenth century, when it was introduced afresh. That 
was another revival. The Romans used bronze nails, and 
we have revived those again. The Greeks invented the 
schooner bow, as we saw in Fig. 13. It was forgotten for 
centuries again and re-introduced, as we saw in the seal of 
Dam in Fig. 40. Still another revival. In yachts, the 
last few years have seen the introduction of a reefing gear 
for furling both mainsail and headsails. The Chinese have 
had the former for centuries. Quite lately the fashion has 
come in to build yachts with double-ended " canoe " stems. 
That, too, is but a revival of the old Viking shape — 






a x 














S . 











roughly. The reader will remember that in the years 
following the coming of William the Conqueror the 
tendency was for the ship to have terrific sheer, so that 
instead of being long and straight she was almost semi- 
circular. Gradually, century by century, this absurd sheer 
has disappeared, though reluctantly, until to-day the most 
modern deep-sea sailing ships have practically no sheer 
considering their length, as the reader will see from the 
photographs of the modern ships in this chapter. 

What and where the next revival will be — who knows ? 
Perhaps some day, when all the coal has been burnt and 
all the oil extracted from the ground, both engines and 
motors will be banished, and a revival of sailing power 
will be made. One cannot tell. But as to the immediate 
future of the big sailing ship two considerations arise 
on two widely different points, each of which demands 
attention. The first is the Panama Canal, to be opened in 
1915, though this actual date may be delayed. Will it deal 
the last and most cruel blow of all by driving away those 
fine white-hulled saihng ships one sees sometimes bound 
from South America? Like the opening of the Suez 
Canal, will the piercing of the Panama Isthmus mean that, 
by enabling steamships to shorten their voyage and its 
cost to South America, Cape Horn will no longer be 
rounded by the sailing ship ? That is one subject for con- 
sideration. The other is the effect that the installation of 
the motor will have. Coasters with auxiliary power are 
now becoming common. In the opinion of experts, ocean- 
going vessels of 700 tons can be fitted with motors of 
sufficient power. A three-masted fore-and-aft schooner 
was recently built in North Wales for the coasting trade 
fitted with an auxiliary motor. The vessel has a dead- 
weight carrying capacity of 200 tons, and the experiment 
has been found eminently successful. In towing charges 
and independence of weather she will be found to be 
cheaper even than a small steamer. A company was 

2/ / 



y. :: 




X c; 

- tr. 

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roughly. The reader will remember that in the years 
following the coming of William the Conqueror the 
tendency was for the ship to have terrific sheer, so that 
instead of being long and straight she was almost semi- 
circular. Gradually, century by century, this absurd sheer 
has disappeared, though reluctantly, until to-day the most 
modern deep-sea sailing ships have practically no sheer 
considering their length, as the reader will see from the 
photographs of the modern ships in this chapter. 

What and where the next revival will be— who knows ? 
Perhaps some day, when all the coal has been burnt and 
all the oil extracted from the ground, both engines and 
motors will be banished, and a revival of sailing power 
will be made. One cannot tell. But as to the immediate 
future of the big sailing ship tw^o considerations arise 
on two widely different points, each of which demands 
attention. The first is the Panama Canal, to be opened in 
1915, though this actual date may be delayed. Will it deal 
the last and most cruel blow of all by driving away those 
fine white-hulled sailing ships one sees sometimes bound 
from South America? Like the opening of the Suez 
Canal, will the piercing of the Panama Isthmus mean that, 
by enabling steamships to shorten their voyage and its 
cost to South America, Cape Horn will no longer be 
rounded by the sailing ship ? That is one subject for con- 
sideration. The other is the effect that the installation of 
the motor will have. Coasters with auxiliary power are 
now becoming common. In the opinion of experts, ocean-^ 
going vessels of 700 tons can be fitted with motors of 
sufficient power. A three-masted fore-and-aft schooner 
was recently built in North Wales for the coasting trade 
fitted with an auxiliary motor. The vessel has a dead- 
weight carrying capacity of 200 tons, and the experiment 
has been found eminently successful. In towing charges 
and independence of w^eather she will be found to be 
cheaper even than a small steamer. A company was 
^ 277 


formed last autumn in London for the purpose of building 
barges propelled by paraffin oil motors with auxiliary 
sails, and such barges having a capacity of carrying 300 
tons of cargo have been used on the Continent for some 
years. Time alone, therefore, can tell whether we have 
seen the last and final stage of the sailing ship, or whether 
we are about to see the dawn of a new development of 
her usefulness. 









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Details of Spars and Rigging as shown in Fig. 80. 


1. Bowsprit. 

2. Gammoning. 

3. Bumkin. 

4. Horse. 
6. Bob-stay. 

6. Marti ngal. 

7. Martingal-stayfl. 

8. Bowsprit-shrouds. 

9. Jib-bo im. 

10. Jib, stay, and sail. 

11. Jib-halyards. 

12. Horses. 

13. Spritsnil-yard and 


14. Bowsprit-cap. 

15. JackstaflF and flag. 

16. Braces. 

17. Foremast. 

18. Shrouds. 

19. Stay and lanyard. 

20. Preventer-stay and lan- 


21. Yard and conrse with 

studding-sail booms. 

22. Horse. 

23. Top. 

24. Yard tackles. 

25. Lifts. 

26. Braces. 

27. Sheets. 

28. Tack. 

29. Bowlines and bridles. 

30. Futtock-shrouds. 

31. Cap. 

32. Fore topmast. 

88. Shrouds and lanyards. 
34. Yard and sail with 
studding-sail booms. 
85. Stay and sail. 
8r>. Preventer stay. 
37. Backstays. 

88. Halyards. 

89. Lifts. 

40. Braces. 

41. Horses. 

42. Staysail halyards. 

43. Bowlines and bridles. 

44. Sheets. 

45. Crosstrces. 

46. Cap. 

47. Fore topgallant mast 

48. Shrouds. 

49. Yard and sail. 

60. Back stays. 

61. Stay. 

62. Lifts. 
68. Braces. 

64. Bowlines and bridles. 

65. Royal stay. 

66. Back stay. 

67. Royal yard and sail. 

68. Royal braces. 

69. Royal lifts. 

60. Flag of the Lord High 


61. Mainmast. 

62. Shrouds and ratlines. 

63. Stay. 

64. Preventer-ptny. 

65. Stay-tacl^lefi. 

66. Yard-tackles. 

67. Lifts. 

68. Braces. 

69. Horse. 

70. Sheets. 

71. Tack. 

72. Bowlines and bridles. 

73. Top. 

74. Cap. 

75. Yard and course with 

studding-sail booms. 

76. Futtock-shrouds. 

77. Maintop mast. 

78. Shrouds and lanyards. 

79. Yard and sail with 

studding sail booms. 

80. Back stay. 

81. Preventer stay. 

82. Stay and sail. 
8H. Halyards. 

84. Lifts. 

85. Braces. 

86. Horse. 

87. Sheets. 

88. Bowlines and bridles. 

89. Crosstrees. 

90. Cap. 

91. Main topgallant mast. 

92. Shrouds. 

93. Yard and sail. 

94. Backstay. 

95. Stay, halyard, and sail. 

96. Lifts. 

97. Braces. 

98. Bowline and bridle. 

99. ^oval stay. 

100. Back stay. 

101. Royal yard and sail. 

102. Royal braces. 

103. Royal lifts. 

104. Royal standard. 

105. Mizzen mast. 

106. Shrouds and ratlin: g. 

107. Cross-jack yard. 

108. Stoy. 

109. Preventer-stay. 

110. Cross-jack lifts. 

111. It n braces. 

112. Horse. 

113. Top. 

114. Cap. 

115. Mizzen topmast. 

116. Shrouds. 

117. Stay. 

118. Backstay. 

119. Yard and sail. 

120. Lifts. 

121. Bracos. 

122. Bowlines and bridles. 

123. Crosstrees. 

124. Cap. 

125. Mizzen topg<allant 


126. Shrouds. 

127. Stay. 

128. Backstay. 

129. Yard and sail. 

130. Bowlines and bridles. 

131. Lifts. 

132. Braces. 

133. Royal yard and sail. 

134. Royal lifts. 

135. Royal braces. 

136. Royal stay. 

137. Royal backstays. 

138. Union Jack. 

139. Driver boom. 

140. Boom topping-lift. 

141. Boom guy-falls. 

142. Gaflfand driver 

143. Derrick-fall. 

144. Peak-brails. 

145. Peak-halyards. 

146. Ensign staflF. 

147. EnHign. 

148. Bower cabl«. 



P far we have, with the exception of the 
primitive lateen, dealt exclusively with the 
square-rigged sailing ship. We have seen 
that this was the earliest and has continued 
to be the most universal sail of the ship. 
The Egyptian and other early races 
possessed it, and likewise the Greeks, 
Romans and Vikings. In the most modern full-rigged 
ship it is to day seen as conspicuous as ever. For ocean, 
deep-sea sailing it has no peer, but in course of time with 
the growth of the coasting and fishing shipping, of pilotage 
and yachting, a rig that was suitable for deep-sea sailing 
was found to be not altogether ideal for the new demands. 
And so, gradually, side by side with the squaresail, has 
grown up another development which we may divide into 
two sections : first, the fore-and-aft rig, and secondly, the 
compromises that have been made between the fore-and- 
aft and the squaresail. 

• In connection with this chapter, I wish to acknowledge my indebted- 
ness to certain matter contained in the following : 

** Architectura Navalis Mercatoria," by F. H. Chapman, Holmis, 
1768 ; *♦ The History of Yachting," by Arthur H. Clark, New York, 1904 ; 
** Yachting," by Sir Edward Sullivan, Bart., Lord Brassey, &c., 2 vols., 
London, 1 894-9^ ; " Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia," by H. Warington 
Smyth, London, 1906; "Lloyd's Almanac" ; '' Lloyd's Yacht Register," 
&c.; the YachUman ; the Yachting World; the Yachting Monthly, 







It would be quite impossible here to trace in such 
complete detail the history and development of the fore- 
and-afters as we have done of the larger sailing ships ; that, 
indeed, demands a separate volume to itself. But we can 
show here, what, as far as I am able to ascertain, has never 
been attempted by any previous writer, in outline, at least, 
the story of the rise of the fore-and-after, and link it up to 
that larger ship that sets her sails at an angle athwart the 
keel instead of parallel with it. We shall thus complete 
our study in connecting the present with the past, and in 
showing how the latest Shamrock is related to the early 
Egyptian ship, and how on the one hand she has inherited 
certain family characteristics of her fore-parent, yet on the 
other hand, through coming under new influences and 
acquiring new habits, she has altered some of the features 
by which her ancestors were especially distinguished. 

In an earlier chapter we mentioned that it was in 
Holland during the sixteenth century that the fore-and-aft 
rig originated. At first it was only used for quite small 
sailing boats, but it was not long before craft of fifty tons 
and more adopted it. We must remember that about 
this time the Dutch were more advanced in maritime 
matters than any other nation. With them shipbuilding 
and naval architecture were much nearer to being an art 
and a science than elsewhere. The vast number of miles 
open to inland navigation, the shallowness of their channels 
and coasts naturally encouraged and stimulated them to 
study the problem of smaller ships. What the Tigris and 
Euphrates and Nile had been to the ancients the inland 
waterways were to the Dutch. The squaresail rig was out 
of the question. It was far too clumsy for tacking in and 
out of the small harbours of the Zuyder Zee and German 
Ocean. It would not sail close enough to the wind to 
allow the little craft just to lay her course in a straight 
narrow channel, while at the same time the Mediterranean 
lateen rig with its enormous yard was not suitable for the 


boisterous, squally North Sea. So the Dutchman, appre- 
ciating the virtues which the lateen shape possessed, just 
preserved this same triangular form, but cut it in two for 
convenience and handiness, though at the sacrifice of speed. 
Let the reader take his pencil and draw a vertical line to 
represent a mast. Across this let him draw a triangle 
wfth the apex well over to one side of the mast and the 
rest of the triangle and base to the other. This is roughly 
the shape of the Mediterranean and Eastern lateen as one 
can see by comparing Figs. 102 and 103. Now rub out frona 
the drawing that part which is forward of the mast, and 
there remains a rectangular figure which is the germ of the 
first mainsail the cutter, or, more properly, the sloop- 
rigged boat had. In actual practice the sail was made 
much squarer at the top. A sprit was then stretched 
diagonally across the sail, with the peak on nearly the 
same level as where the throat now is. This spnt was 
supported just as in the Thames barge to-day, by a yard- 
tackle coming down from the throat to the spnt. It was 
thus, as we see from the engravings of the contemporary 
record of the first Dutch voyage to the North Pole in 
1599, that the little craft that brought the lU-fated 
members home was rigged. Similarly the staysad, 
working on the forestay, as to-day, was in shape and size 
roughly equivalent to that part which . in the triangular 
sketch just now would project forward of the mast. Vangs 
came down from the peak, and a bonnet being in use on 
the contemporary full-rigged ships, was naturally enough 
used for the smaller ships, too. Thus the spnt is really 
the old lateen yard modified, and the fore-and-aft rig is in 
its earliest days but the dhow rig cut in two. I have 
made a close study of the earUest Dutch engravings and 
paintings, and have little doubt in my mmd as to the 
stages of development here indicated. 

The next change came when the last relic of the lateen 
yard disappeared, for in place of the sprit a tiny gaff was 






added at the top and a boom at the bottom of the sail. 
The sail was, of course, loose-footed and very baggy, and 
was kept to the mast by lacing, wooden hoops being still 
unknown. Then a long clumsy bowsprit was given, so 
that forward of the staysail a jib mignt be introduced. 
Thus it is not the foresail that was added to the jib, but vice 
versd. Originally the foresail was the fore sail in fact as 
well as in name, until the jib was introduced. Then top- 
sails were added. These were copied from those on the 
contemporary full-rigged ships, were square in shape, 
were set athwart the ship and not parallel like the modern 
topsails. Before long, we find that not content with one 
square topsail, some of the bigger craft set a square top- 
gallant sail also. The topsail was goared out considerably 
and the foot was cut in a deep curve upwards, but a 
" barren " yard like that of the old cro'jack was retained. 
In light winds, the triangular spinnaker not being yet 
invented, the Dutchman set a large squaresail for running. 
This was similar to the lower course of the full-rigged ship 
and was set below the topsail when the ship was large 
enough to carry the former. This lower course extended 
from the hounds, was hoisted outside the forestay and, if 
she was a large sized ship and possessed a bowsprit, the 
sail extended right down to the furthest end of the latter. 
If she had no bowsprit then it came down to the stem. 
This latter instance will be seen in Fig. 82, which has been 
sketched from the picture by Van der Cappelle in the 
National Gallery (No. 964; Van der Cappelle painted 
from 1650 to 1680). We find in the paintings and engrav- 
ings of this time that the Dutch were immensely fond of 
booming out these sails with a light spar. One is seen in 
this illustration, but sometimes, besides such a one as this, 
they would set another boom one-third of the way up the 
sail, so that it might catch every breath of wind. In the 
present illustration the staysail is seen set, but one often 

finds it rolled round and round the forestay. So, too, 
284 J , . 















with the mainsail, if it should happen to be a spritsaU, then 
the foot was boomed out, in running, with a Ught spar 
also It was thus, 1 believe, that the introduction of a 
boom and gaff mainsail came-the boom first and the 
necessary spar at the top to correspond thereto. 1 hen, 
not infrequently, one finds in 
the Dutchmen of about 1700 
that they dispense with the 
boom but retain the gaff. The 

brails, in the case of the spnt- 

sails, were plentifully used. 

sometimes with the addition 

also of reef points. As to the 

hulls, they were tubby, bluff- 
bowed, but excellent sea 

boats, if slow. Being of hght 

draught, they had leeboards. 

Until about 1840-1850, we 

in this country continued to 

model our fishing and small 

sailing craft generally upon ^^ ^^^^^^ 

the Unes of these Dutchmen ^^^'-JIZts;' bv Jan Van deb 

(notice the cutter shown in cappelle. 

Tn rTiT^B^f Strhave gone ahead from improve- 
menfto Approximate perfection, from ignorance to know- 
\ed7e the ships of the Low Countries remam but httle 
Sed^iL: tL days of Tromp, when the Du^^^--^^ 
the height of their maritime progress. 1 he Dutch schuyt, 
such afmay be seen any day lying at her buoy off Bilhngs- 
eate ts Zln in Fig. 83. The Viking influence is written 
fey over the ship! of Holland, but breadth has taken the 
place of the length beloved of the Northerner. 

If we compare the last-mentioned sketch of a modem 
Dutchman with that in Fig. 84, which has been copied 
fromtr exquisite little Van der Velde m the Natiomd 


Fio. 83. A MouEKN Dutch Schuyt 


Gallery, we shall see how little the hulls of their ships 
have altered. Van der Velde (the younger) hved from 
1638 to 1707, so that he saw the Dutch ships at their very 
best. As Macaulay says, the Van der Veldes, father and 
son, produced, when they came over to Greenwich as 

Fig. 84. " A Fresh Gale at Sea." 

After the painting hy W, Van der Velde, No. 150 in 

the National Gallery. 

painters to Charles II., some of the finest sea-pieces in the 
world. The title given to the present picture is A Fresh 
Gale at Sea (No. 150). It is extremely interesting to us for 
its indication of the rig. The ship in the foreground on the 
port tack will collide with the other if both stand on. But 
to avoid this she has resolved to bear up. The reader 
will notice the helm has been put hard over as the other 
ship is seen staggering out of the squall and mist. Easing 
off her sheet she has also lowered her peak by slacking 
off the tackle at the foot of the sprit. In another of Van 
der Velde's paintings in the same gallery (No. 149, A 
Calm at Sea) the same peculiar method of lowenng saU 
is seen. We see a ship at anchor in a calm. She has 
slacked off the tack in the same way, so that the spar 



comes right across the mast. English ships of the eighteenth 
and nineteenth centuries possessing this characteristic will 
be found in the paintings of Turner and other contem- 
porary artists. j u • 

For many years, though the Dutch had changed their 
rig for small craft, yet they still felt the influence of the 
bigger squaresail ships, notably in the design of the sterns. 
Thus the familiar decoration and the sheer to a high poop 
will be noticed in the vessel that occupies the centre of 
Fig. 85, which is rigged with a spritsail This has been 
copied from another Van der Velde in the same gallery 
(No. 978). I have selected this picture expressly for the 
purpose of indicating, as Van der Velde has done, as many 
of the prevailing types of Dutch seventeenth-century craft 
as possible in a small space. The short gafF, the spntsail 
furled by means of its brails, the large squaresail for spm- 
naker work seen on the ship to the left of the picture, 
the high stempost (relic of the Vikings) on the ship to the 
right— these will all be found deserving of notice. It was 
no doubt a ship very similar to the high-pooped yacht m 
the centre of this picture that was sent to Charles II. in 
1660 by the Dutch. The vessel was called the Mary, and 
was the first yacht ever owned in this country. 

In England the revenue and other sailing cutters of 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were rigged with 
the square topgallant sail and " goared " topsail below, 
with a hollow foot. Old prints of the beginning of the 
eighteenth century (1717) show British cutters saihngwith 
the jack flying from the staff at the end of the bowsprit 
just clear of the jib. The bowsprit is steeved remarkably 
high and is very long. In a like manner were rigged also 
the yachts of this period. So the cutters continued until 
the 'forties and 'fifties, when the bluff bows and rough rig 
gave way to a larger, cleaner lined, and more scientific 

Production than the slavish conyingof a seventeenth century 
)utch type could produce. Now the old-fashioned square 




topsail has utterly disappeared in fore-and-afters, and one 
of more or less triangular shape has taken its place. 
But since it is in the building and rigging of yachts that 
the most complete changes have occurred during the nine- 

FiQ. S6, TiiK Bawlkv. 

teenth and twentieth centuries we shall postpone the further 
progress of the cutter until later in the chapter. 

No modification of the cutter rig in England is so 
thoroughly Dutch as the bawley (Fig. 86). Not even 
the least observant of passengers on the Margate steamer 
can have failed to notice these little ships off the Nore or 
cruising somewhere up and dovm the Thames estuary. 
Off Southend and Whitstable they are as common as flies 
in summer, and bigger children of the same family are to be 
seen brought up in the Stour abreast of Harwich. The 
bawley inherits the Dutch ancient mainsail, with brails that 



can speedily shorten canvas, and without a boom to be 
Scking about from side to side as the ship rolls in 
Se trough of the nasty seas that can get up off the 
entrance to our great waterway. With their transom 
stem and easily brailed and triced mainsail these bawleys 
are excellent bad-weather boats. 

Some of the finest cutters m the country are the 
Brixham Mumble Bees, trawlers of about 27 tons. Ihey 
have their mast stepped well aft, so that they are able to 
set an enormous foresail. Here especially the long bow- 
sprit has survived, and without a bobstay to support it. 
The Plymouth hooker, with her mast stepped well amid- 
ships, with her square stern, no boom to her mainsail, and 
pole mast, cannot be said altogether to have escaped 
& influence, although it is said that the Devon 
shire men in Elizabeth's time possessed cutters of their 

^'^The illustration in Plan 1 shows the sail and rigging 
plan of the GJoa. The vessel is shown here because in 
combining much that is old and new she is one of the 
most interesting cutters afloat. Her ^nnage is JO 
length over all 69 feet, beam-20-66 feet, depth 8-75 feet, 
draught 75 feet. In June 1903 she set out from Chnstiania, 
and three and a half years later she had navigated the 
North- West Passage and reached SanFrancisco. Obviously 
built for the hard service of the Arctic regions, her hull is 
bluff and strong. The bowsprit is more that of an old- 
fashioned full-rigged ship than of a modern cutter, and 
the squaresail. wTiose yard and braces will be noticed, has 
come back from the times of the old Dutchmen, being, as 
already mentioned, of inestimable value for running across 
vast expanses of ocean. But in spite of her old-fashioned 
bow an^ stern and rigging she is fitted with a heavy-od 
motor, as will be seen from Plan 2. This was found very 
useful, giving the ship a speed of * knote per hour ; and 
it was tie first time a motor-propelled ship had been so 


far north. Plan 8 gives an adequate idea of Gjoa's deck 

Pass we now to trace the progress of the schooner. It 
is a common error to suppose that this rig was derived 
direct from the cutter by merely adding another mast and 
sail of the same shape as the mainsail. Such a statement 
is pure guesswork, and entirely contrary to fact. The 
schooner originated quite independently of the cutter and 
much later, though the shape of her mainsail and foresail 
was obtained from the former. About the beginning of 
the seventeenth century a craft far from uncommon 
among the Dutch was the sloop. Now in order to clear 
the ground, let us carefully separate the three distinct 
kinds of craft to which this name belonged at that time. 
The word sloop, or more properly sloepe, was applied less 
to the rig than to the size of the craft, denoting a some- 
what small tonnage. Thus it was primarily applied to a 
ship's big boat, such as was used to run out the kedge 
anchor and for fetching provisions and water from the 
shore. The same name was also given to the Dutch 
vessels of about 55 feet long and 12 J feet beam which 
sailed to the Cape Verde Islands. More familiar to us was 
the custom of applying it to the earljr cutter-Uke craft 
which carried a triangular foresail yet no jib. But not one 
of these is the sloop we are looking for. This is found in 
that kind of saiUng craft which was about 42 feet overall 
and with 9 feet beam. She was rigged with two pole 
masts, the mainmast being 24 feet long. On each she had 
just such a sail as we see in Fig. 83 of a modem schuyt, 
with loose foot and with both gaff and boom, but the most 
important fact is that she had neither bowsprit nor head- 
sails of any kind, while her foremast was stepped right as 
far forward as it could get. There are plenty of contem- 
porary prints and paintings in existence to show such a 
vessel, which usually had an enormous sheer coming up 
from bow to stem. This, then, was not a schooner but a 














sloop, and you may search high and low in all the seven- 
teenth century dictionaries, marine and otherwise, but you 
;m not find such a word as "schooner" m existence 
We come. then, to the early part of the eighteenth 
century, and we cross to North Amenca. When m 1664 
Se BrLh, during the war with Holland, seized the Dutch 
colony of the New Netherlands and changed the name of 
New Amsterdam to New York in honour of Charles 11. » 
brother, most of the Dutch settlers who had come out 
from Europe remained. So, ^e, those ef / P««P^« ^^^ 
trekked westwards across the Synan desert to Egypt, the 
Dutch had also brought with them their ideas and prac- 
tical knowledge of sSip-building, included mwhid.^^^^ 
that of making sloops. It was at Gloucester. Massa- 
Susetts,stiU to-day famous for the finest schooners and 
the very finest schooner-sailors that ever tasted brme on 
their lips, that in 1713 the first genuine schooner with 
a triangular headsail was built . To add the latter to Ae 
two-masted sloop was but the easiest transition. Not till the 
first vessel of this now enormous class was actually making 
its first contact with water was the name schooner bestowed 
on it. As she was leaving the stocks some one remarked 
« Oh, how she scoons." " Very well, then,' answered her 
proud buUder. " a scooner let her be." And so she has 

remained ever since. . ^ \. a 

For the next century and a half Gloucester went ahead 
building these beautiful creatures, more stately than a 
cutter, less ponderous than a fuU-ngged s^ip. until l^f^; 
when the famous Ameiica still perpetuated m the Anierica 
Cup came across to the English waters and so wiped the 
slate that every rich owner of yachts desired to turn them 
into the same rig as this Yankee. We will say no more 
about her at present as we shall Presently ma,ke her 
acquaintance anew when we come to deal entirely with 

^^'^But to return to the more commercial schooner ; for 


whatever else Gloucester, Massachusetts, may yet become 
famous, it will always be associated with that wonderful 
fleet of fishing schooners which those who have read 
Kipling s " Captains Courageous," and Mr. J. B. Connolly's 
« The Seiners," already know. The origin of this wonderful 

Fig. 87. The Schooner "Pinkie" (1800-50). 

Gloucester breed may be traced to the Dutch fly-boat,* 
or fliboty of the eighteenth century. The next step in 
the evolution of the Gloucester schooner is seen in Fig. 87, 
the Pinkie, engaged in the fishery industry between 1800 
and 1850. Although the sail plan belongs to a smaller 
boat than the one just indicated, yet we see the first step 
in the introduction of the single headsail to the old two- 
masted " sloepe," with the foremast even now stepped very 
far forward. Impelled by the demands for a ship that 
would be able to carry its fish to market with the utmost 
despatch, but which would be able to endure beine caught 
in the terrible seas off the Newfoundland Banks ; and 
subsequently encouraged to progress through the popu- 
larity which such craft were obtaining among the Ameri- 
can pilots who used to come out enormous distances into 


the Atlantic in those days to meet the incoming linei^ 
the builders and designers went on improvmg the design 
and ritr, givmg them fine hollow lines, adding jibs and 
standing bowsprits, greater draught and speej, larger spars 
with a vast square nTeasurement of canvas. The Fredonta, 

Fig. 88. The "Fredonia." Built in 189U 

seen in Fig. 88. was one of the fen^o"«J^^°°^%^ ^^ 
■nineties and is so stiU. She was designed by W. Bmgeg 
in 1891, and with her cut-away fore^Toot and finer lines is 
L^Lat -P-e-nt on the dd^^^^^^^ J^ 

and her san area is the enormous extent of J/*^ square 
feet. Fig. 89 represents one of the earhest "jf ^^e tw^Ueth 
century productions, and is designed by the tamous 
cSh?eld. Her fore-foot t«" V^ TSv of thete 
of a Solent racmg schooner-yacht. I^'^t^,'*; ^^^^^S 
Gloucester -hoone^^ -J^ -^J t^'il^ 'S 
CS^Vil^^^theXdtrin-rwinfer. threading their way 


through the ice-blocks and the crowd of fussy tugs and 
mammoth liners in New York harbour with the handiness 
of a small rater. The most modem example of this ideal 
ship is that seen in Fig. 90. She is only a 58-tonner with 
an over-all length of under 70 feet, and is fitted with a 

Fig. 89. Gloucester Schooner, a.d. 1901. 

25-horse-power motor. But in many cases the internal 
combustion engine has been adopted by the American 
saihng ships omy to be rejected as not worth while. 

The coasting trade of the United States of America is 
not done in the ketches and topsail schooners and bar- 
quentines that we use. It is done exclusively, where 
sailing ships are used, in fore-and-aft schooners which 
have arisen directly or indirectly from Gloucester. Two 
masts have become three, three have become five, and even 
as many as seven have been used. Perhaps the most 
notable of these was the seven-masted Thomas W, Lawson, 
which foundered ofF the Scillies on December 14, 1907. 
Kemarkable for the ease with which it can be handled, 


a three-masted schooner of about 400 tons requires only a 
dozen hands aboard. In tacking, a couple of hands work 
the head-sheets, and these with a man at the wheel can 
work her in and out of narrow chaimels, for which the riff 
is more suited than any modification of the squaresail. 

Fig. 90. Gloucester Schooner, a.d. 1906. 

For labour-saving " gadgets " the American schooner has 
reached the furthest Umit Thus the anchor and saUs are 
raised by steam force ; there is steam steering gear as well 
as steam capstan, and the biggest ships of all have been 
fitted even with electric light. The illustration m Fig. 91 
of a four-master will give one some idea of the extent to 
which the American schooner has developed. 

Coming back to European waters, besides the pure 
fore-and-aft schooner we have also the topsail schooner 
and the two-topsail schooner. No better instance of the 
former could be found than in the illustration in Fig. 116 
of Lord Brassey's famous auxiliary yacht the Sunbeam, of 
which we shall give further details on a later page, among 

^ 297 


the yachts. But we may now caU attention to the square 
fore-topsail and smaller t gallant sail on this ship. Some- 
times, too, one finds a royal added also to the foremast. The 
braces, clew-garnet, Ufts, and other rigging are so well 
shown in this photograph as to require no further comment. 

Fig 91. An American Foub-masted Schooner. 

A two-toBsail schooner carries a square topsail and t'gallant 
sail at the main as ivell as the fore. The topsail schooner 
is perhaps the best known of our coasting types. Most ot 
our trading schooners are "butter-rigged," that is to say, 
that whereas the topsail schooner has a standing^ t gaUant 
yard set up with lifts, the butter-rigged sets her t gallants i 
flying by hoisting the yard every time. 

The illustrations in Figs. 92 and 93 represent barquen- 
tines, although one of them is seen with the now obsolete 
stun's'ls. A barquentine is square-rigged on the tore- 
masts, but fore-and-aft rigged on the mam and mizzen. 
The difference between the barquentine and the three- 
masted schooner is that the former has a regular bngan- 
tme s foremast. The three-masted schooner does not carry 
a fore-course, but in place of it a large squaresail, only 


used when running free in moderate weather, only differ 
ing from the fore-course in that it is not bent to the yard. 
The illustration shown in Fig. 94 represents the 18-ton 
brig Fantome. She was designed by Sir W. Symonds and 
launched about 1838. Her armament consisted of eighteen 


"O, - U-, 


Fio. 92. A Barquentine off the South Forfxano. 

32-pouiiders, and her complement was 148 officers and men. 
He?tonnage was 726, her breadth 37-7 feet, length 120 feet, 
and depth of bold 18 feet. This is from a photog^apb of 
the moael in the South Kensin^on Museum. F»g- J^ is 
a photograph of the training bng Martm, actually afloat 
Tfte brig was the last sailing ship to disappear from the 
British Kavy, and her final abolition is so recent Jhat her 
picturesqueness still lingers in the ^^^^^''^'''^^f.^f^^ 
yachtsmen and others. Tht Martm was launched ml 886^ 
As will be seen from the photograph, which obtams even 
greater interest when compared with the model just men- 
tioned, she carried single topsails, tgalants and royals. 
Stun'sails will be noticed on the foresail, foretopsail. fore- 
topgallant sail as well as on her mam-topgallant sail. As 
we shall never see these sailing brigs agam, the photograph 
is of more than ordinary interest. 





In olden days the brig was a favourite rig" for small 
coasters. In the marine paintings of Turner and the eariy 

fart of the nineteenth century one sees them frequently, 
n the eighteenth century, and even as late as the nine- 
teenth, the brig was used for the coal-carrying trade. The 

Fig. 93. Barquentine with Stun's'ls. 

nineteenth-century brigs often carried, besides the sails seen 
in the two illustrations, an enormous fore-topgallant staysail. 
But both the handiness of schooners and ketches began to 
oust her, and the coming of the steam collier finally did 
for her in the mercantile marine as, at a later date, she 
was abolished from the Royal Navy. 

I have intentionally introduced the brig at this point, 
notwithstanding that she is essentially a square-rigged 
ship, in order that we may compare her the more easily 
with that compromise between the square rig and fore-and- 
aft vessel, the brigantine. Strictly speaking, the brigantine 
is square-rigged at her fore-mast, but differs from the 
Hermaphrodite brig in carrying small squaresails aloft at 
the main. She differs also from the full-rigged brig in 

Fig. 101. Dhow-rigged Yacht. 

p. 300. 





r-i c 

O K 



- w 

£ E 







havinff no top at the mainmast and in carrying a fore- 
S aft mainsail and sometimes a mam-staysair mstead 
;f atquTrmainsail and trysail. (The fore-and^^^^^^^^^^ 
at a brig's mainmast is called a trysaiM The lUustm 
tion in Fig. 96 represents a Hermaphrodite brig, com- 

Fig. 96. A Hermaphrodite Brio, commonly but 


monlv and erroneously called a brigantine. The Her- 
maphrodite brig, or brig-schooner, is square-rigged at her 
SasUike a^rig buf without a toP forward and ca^^ 
ine only a fore-and-aft mamsail and gajF topsail on tne 
mf inmast. And here it may not be out of place to mention 
TnXr subtlety: while aW has three "last^'bg^g 
SQuare-rigged at her fore and mam like a ship, and difter- 
Sg from^a ship-rigged vessel in having no top at her 
mfzzen, but carVn| a fore-and-aft «Pa«kej and f ff top- 
saU. yet what is known among sailormen as the Jackijs 



"^0^^ '/t!^4/. 


barque resembles a barque proper, but has no crosstrees, 
does not spread lower courses and has no tops. (Tops are 
the platforms placed over the heads of the lower masts, 

while the crosstrees are 
^ at the topmast heads, 

being used for giving a 
wider spread to the stand- 
ing rigging). 

The illustration seen in 
Fig. 97 shows one of the 
smallest schooner-rigged 
craft that ever sailed the 
ocean. This is the famous 
TilUkum, adapted from a 
"dug-out," in which Cap- 
tain J. C.Voss, F.R.G.S., 
sailed round the world to 
England. The sketch 
which we give here of 
this odd ship was made 
in November 1906, while 
she lay off the Houses of 
ParUament. She has since 
changed ownership and 
been fitted with a motor, 
and in her green paint 
is a famiUar sight to those who bring up in the Orwell oft 
Pin MUl. 

The origin of the ketch is also Dutch, although the 
word is in old French quaiche and in Spanish queche. 
We frequently find the influence of the bomb-ketch in old 
pictures and engravings, in which the mizzen is close up 
against the mainmast, and the latter is stepped well abaft 
or amidships, so as to allow the shot fired to clear the 
rigging, leaving a large fore-triangle. (See Fig. 62, the 
gaiiote d bombe. ) This influence is felt even as late as the 

Fio. 97. The "Tillikum," Schoonkr- 
RiooED '' Duo-out," which sailed 



second half of the eighteenth century. The ketch is de- 
scended from the Dutch galliot, which, besides having a 
gaff mizzen, had a sprit mainsail like the barge, and with no 
boom, but three brails and one row of reef points. The 
usual vangs led down aft from the peak, and she also 
had lee-runners. But, besides her trianffular headsails, 
consisting of a fore(stay)sail and a couple of jibs, she 
carried also a small t'gallantsail, with big topsail below, and 
often a large lower course below that— all these last three 
being square, as on a ftiU-rigged ship, and to this day many 
Baltic ketches continue to be rigged in like manner. At the 
close of Charles II.'s reign we find that among the 178 
ships in the British Royal Navy there were three ketches, 
but before this date, in his " Seamen's Dictionary " of 1644, 
Su: Henry Manwayring defines them simply as " a small 
boate such as uses to come to Belinsgate with mackrell, 
oisters, &c." From the time of Charles I. the Dutch have 
had the privilege of mooring three of their fish-carrying 
craft ofF Billingsgate in recognition of " thek straightfor- 
ward dealings with us," and any day the reader likes to go 
down in the vicinity of London Bridge he will see two or 
three Dutch schuyts swinging to their mooring. In an 
eighteenth century work on naval architecture it is curious 
to see the galliot also called a galleasse. In this case the 
mainsail has discarded the sprit and taken on a small gaft 
with boom and loose foot. Two rows of reef points are 
also added, and the squaresails are still there. An old 
English engraving also shows a close similarity to the for- 
mer bomb-ketch. But in the course of time all the square- 
sails were abolished, the mainmast brought further forward, 
and the mizzen sail enlarged so as to be not much smaller 
than the mainsail. Nowadays nowhere is the modem 
ketch rig so prominent as on the east coast of England, 
from as far north as Whitby to as far south as Ramsgate, 
and even Brixham. The billy-boy, with her long raking 
bowsprit, setting almost as many jibs as a full-rigged ship. 


it ■ 


and whose general design bears the most remarkable like- 
ness to the ship in the seal of Dam in Fig. 40, is the 
Yorkshire adaptation of the old Dutch gaUiot, and, with 
her lee-boards and ketch rig, is well known in the North 
Sea. In the 'seventies our East Coast fishermen were 

Fig. 98 Lowest opt Drifter. 

almost all rigged with the lugsail, but now some of the 
finest ketches will be found in the fishing fleets of Yar- 
mouth, Lowestoft, and Ramsgate. For powerful, seaworthy 
craft, able to heave-to comfortably, and with the capacity 
of riding out gales that few modern yachts with their cut- 
away bows could survive, there is nothing on the sea, size 
for size, to beat these ketches. In Fig. 98 we give an 
illustration of a Lowestoft " drifter." With her boomless 
mainsail and raking mizzen, setting a jackyard topsail 
over both main and mizzen, she sets also in light winds a 
large reaching jib. 

We come next to the yawl. Correctly speaking this 
word has reference not to rig but to shape. The Scan- 
dinavian yol was a Ught vessel, clinker-built and double- 
ended, like the Viking shape. The Yarmouth yawls that we 
shall consider presently, were correctly called yawls with their 
bow and stern aUke. But the word has now come to refer 
to a later adaptation of the ketch, in which the mainsail 


has grown bigger and the mizzen smaller. In a ketch the 
mizzen mast is stepped forward of the rudder-head ; in the 
yawl the mizzen mast is abaft the rudder-head. The 
Jullanar, for instance, in Fig. 117, is a yawl. But to the 
Londoner no more familiar example could be found of a 

FiQ. 99> Thames Barok. 

yawl than the Thames barge, of which the illustration in 
Fig. 99 is a fair specimen. Still inheriting her Dutch-Uke 
spritsail and brailing arrangement, she has also the vangs 
that were first attached to the peak in the sixteenth cen- 
tury. The old-fashioned topsail is a cross between a 
modern jackyarder and the old Dutch square topsail. Aft 
she carries another small spritsail on the diminutive mizzen. 
Smaller types of barge, called " stumpies," have only pole- 
masts and neither bowsprit nor jib nor topsail. But the 
larger type of barge, carrying topmast and setting a big 
jib-headed topsail, known as topsail barges, with their red- 

U 305 





ochred canvas and the untanned jib, always known by 
bargemen as the " spinnaker," have grown to such sizes 
that they go right down to the west end of the English 

' // 

Fio. 100. Norfolk Wherry. 

Channel. Yet these are rather ketches than yawls. But 
even in the Thames barges developments have not ceased. 
Obviously Dutch, as they strike one in a moment, the old 
Dutch bluff bows have been replaced by the straight bow 
as seen in the sketch. A whole book could be written 
about the barge and her ways, her history, her leeboards, 








her lengthy topmast, and the wooden horse on which the 
staysail works ; but we must pass on. 

Curiously Dutch-Uke, too, is the Norfolk wherry seen 
in Fig. 100, with her one enormous sail, her mast fitted in a 
tabernacle for ease in lowering, unsupported by shrouds or 
rigging of any sort other than the forestay by which the 
mast is eased down. Only one halyard is required for both 
peak and throat, which are raised by means of a winch for- 
ward of the mast. She has no leeboards, nevertheless she 
draws under three feet of water : although I have heard her 
sweepingly condemned as defying all existing rules, yet 
the way she can sail right close into the wind is incredible 
to those who have not seen her. In nmning with her 
bonnet off and her sail close reefed she gripes badly and is 
a veritable handful as she comes sailing into Great 
Yarmouth from across Breydon Water or tearing through 
the rushes of Barton Broad and down the tortuous and 
narrow Ant. Within recent years, now that the Norfolk 
and Suffolk waterways have become a tourist resort, the 
wherry has changed her face a Uttle and become smarter, 
and the tanned sail is often allowed to remain white, while 
the hatches have been taken away and a cabin roof, allow- 
ing plenty of headroom with ladies' saloons, pianos and 
other luxuries, have come in. But all the time the wherry 
remains as a useful cargo boat for bringing coals and 
timber from the ports of Lowestoft and Yarmouth inland 
to Norwich and the East Anglian villages, returning with 
eels, or marsh hay for thatching. Sometimes one notices 
them, in settled weather, with a fair wind steal quietly out 
from Lowestoft harbour and make a sea passage round to 
Yarmouth, but as ISlr. Warington Smyth well says in his 
" Mast and Sail," " in the smallest wind and sea the 
wherry loses her head entirely and develops a suicidal 
tendency to bury herself and crew." 

After the squaresail had for so many centuries held 
sway among the earliest dwellers of the earth, the lateen 






Fio. 102. Suez Dhows^ with a Sibbick Rater. 


began stealthily to assert itself as we saw in the first 
chapters. Although Holland set the example in the six- 
teenth century of cutting up the lateen shape into the cutter 
rig, yet in the Mediterranean, along the East Coast of Africa 
and in the Indian Ocean 
generally, the lateen has re- 
fused to be made obsolete. 
The illustration in Fig. 101 
represents a Bombay yacht 
of the second half of the nine- 
teenth century rigged with a 
couple of lateens, and masts 
that rake forward at a con- 
siderable angle. Every tourist 
to Egypt is familiar with the 
picturesque lateens and lofty 
yards of which Fig. 102, 
showing a fleet of these with 
a small Sibbick rater in be- 
tween, affords a study in 
contrast between the con- 
servative East and the pro- 
gressive West. The sketch 
was made at Suez. The Fio. 103. Mediterranean Felucca. 
felucca in Fig. 103 is a well- pro^ the model in the South Kensington 

known lateen type in the Museum. 

Mediterranean, with her . i j i rri, 

white and green, her square stem and single deck. 1 he 
sketch here shown has been made from a charming Uttle 
model in the South Kensmgton Museum, and represents 
one of the famiUar two-masters seen off the Spanish coast. 
The tack and sheets and rigging are shown so clearly that 
we need not stop to indicate them. In old pamtings and 
prints we see that the felucca type in the Mediterranean 
developed into vessels of considerable tonnage with three 
masts. The Venetians and Greeks and Genoese, as well 




I !■' 

III. " : 



as the piratical Moors and the other Mediterranean 
inhabitants, used them both as cargo carriers and ships of 
war. They are in fact the lineal descendants of the ancient 
galleys. Further modifications include the addition of a 
jib, though the Southerner has not followed the universal 
Northern practice of transforming his lateen into a mainsaiL 
Sometimes we find old prints showing a felucca with the 
addition also of a mizzen spritsail similar to that on the 
modern barge. The French signified by the word brigantin 
a two-masted lateen-rigged galley with oars as auxiliary. 
But there came into use that conapromise between lateen 
and squaresail that in Northern Europe we have seen to 
exist between the pure fore-and-after and the square-rigger. 
Thus, for instance, one finds ships rigged with a large 
lateen on the foremast, the mainmast being square-rigged 
with mainsail, topsail and t'gallant, while the mizzen has a 
lateen with square topsail. The reader who wishes to see 
the different varieties of lateen and lateen-plus-square rig 
is referred to Mr. Warington Smyth's interesting volume 
" Mast and Sail," while for details as to design and rigging 
he will find some valuable information in Admiral Paris' 
" Souvenirs de Marine." 

The Chinese in their own independent way went on 
developing from the early Egyptian models and have 
been not inaptly called the Dutchmen of the East in 
their nautical tendencies. They developed quickly but 
then remained at a standstill, whilst the European has 
gone on by slow steps of progression. Adopting rather 
the sail of the lugger than the old Egyptian squaresail, 
the Chinese made it into a balance-lug and stiffened it 
with bamboo-battens. The illustration in Fig. 104 was 
sketched by Mr. Warington Smyth (through whose 
courtesy it is here reproduced) near Kaw Sichang, and 
represents a Hailam junk. The sail of the Chinaman is 
hoisted up a pole-mast, the halyard passing through a large 
double block attached to the yard and a treble block at 


the masthead, a hauling parrel keeping yard to mast and 
helping to peak the sail when reefed. Reefing with the 
Chmese consists simply in letting go the halyard, when the 
weight of sail and battens brings the sail into the toppmg 
lifts : two or more battens are bunched together along the 

;i •■! 

Fig. 104. Hailam Junk. 

boom. The illustration in Fig. 105 will show in further 
detail the rigging of a Chinese junk. This has been 
specially sketched from a fine model in the South Ken- 
smgton Museum. Built of soft wood, she has a full 
bottom and water-tight compartments. The mizzen mast 
will be noticed to be in duplicate, one on each quarter, 
only the leeward one being used under way, the sails being 
of matting. The rudder is remarkable, imwieldy, and 
projecting deep into the water, but capable of being raised 
by means of a windlass when in shallows. The windlass 
in the bows raises the three anchors, which are made of 
hard wood, the flukes being tipped with iron, whilst the 
stock is in the crown instead of in the top of the shank as 
in European anchors. Very similar to this model was the 
famous Chinese junk Keying, which caused some sensation 
by sailing from Canton to the Thames in 1847-8. These 
craft, owiiiff to their light draught and bulky tophamper, 
^ 311 



are not much good going to windward, so that one is not 
surprised that the Keying took 477 days on the voyage 
to England. In crossing China seas they usually take 
advantage of the favourable monsoons. Their enormous 
crescent-shaped sheer makes them excellent bad weather 
ships. Their tonnage varies between 300 and 800. The 
Keying came round the Horn, and her rudder, when let 
down, drew 22 feet of water. It hung loose, as seen 
in the model, and was perforated, weighing nearly eight 
tons. Under way it necessitated fifteen men, as weU as 
a lufF-tackle purchase, to work the helm. She had no 
keelson, and the mast, instead of being stepped, was sup- 
ported by a toggle. The seams of the vessel were paid 
with a kind of putty-cement made out of burnt pounded 
oyster shells and oil ifrom the chinam-tree. The mainsail 
weighed no less than nearly nine tons, and took the crew 
two hours to hoist. Towards the end of last year (1908) 
the Australian Customs officials saw with amazement the 
arrival in their waters of another Chinese junk, the 
Whang'Ho, This craft, which was over a hundred years 
old, and was previously a pirate ship, set out from China 
for a voyage to San Francisco. Afterwards she sailed 
for the eastern side of America, but in making an 
attempt to round the Horn was less fortunate than the 
Keying^ a wave carrying away her huge rudder ; but she 
eventually reached Australia. She had previously touched 
at Tahiti, and nothing was heard of her until she reached 
Thursday Island, 100 days out. 

Returning now to Northern Europe, we find the 
lug-sail surviving especially in fishing craft for which it 
possesses certain peculiar advantages. In Fig. 106 we have 
the sail plan of a Blankenberg boat. Those who are 
acquainted with the coast-line around Ostend cannot have 
failed to notice these craft with their leeboards raised, 
hauled up the sandy beach. Here the standing lug is set 
after the French style, the old mediaeval bowline being 

Fio. 105. Chinese Junk. 
From the model in the Houth Keiumglon Museum, 


stiU preserved from the squaresail to set the lug straight 
when on a wind. Notice that the foresail is right in the 
eyes of the ship, so that the rig looks as if it was no 

Fio. 106. Blankenbero Boat, 

distant relative of the vessel with the artemon that carried 
St. Paul on his voyage. 

Every one who has cruised down Channel is familiar 
with the French Chasse-Maree, a curious figure on the 
sea-line, with her lug-sails and three crazy-looking masts. 
Over the mainmast she sets a square topsail, while forward 
she carries a long bowsprit with a small jib, the latter 
being in shape more of an equal-sided triangle than the 
modem English jib, while the French lug-sail is sheeted 
very high, as will be seen from the sketch (see Fig. 107). 


At one time Norfolk was famous for its beach yawls. 
Those who have visited Great Yarmouth will have noticed 
these very large open boats painted white with (if I 
remember correctly) a riband of green running alon^ the 
gunwale. Double-ended, they are now usually ngged 

L_ iSL . ->. 

Fig. 107. French " CnAssE-MARiE." 

cutter fashion and used as pleasure boats. Clinker-built, 
they have a very fine entrance and a clean run, and some- 
times measure 50 feet in length and 10 feet beam. They 
used to carry three lug-sails and jib owing to French 
influence. In the days when sailing ships were more 
frequent than to-day, Yarmouth Roads were usuallv a 
crowded anchorage, and these yawls would be launched 
almost every day during the winter to assist a vessel that 
had been picked up by the shoals. Nowadays one still 
sees them used for bringing pilots ashore, but it is at the 
Yarmouth and Lowestoft regattas that one is able to 
realise alike their enormous speed on a reach and the 
dexterity of each crew, numbering about twenty. The 
three-masted lug rig of olden days has now given way to 






Fio. 108. Scotch "Zulu." 


a two-master with a dipping lug for the main and standing 
mizzen, besides a small jib forward. . 

Until about 1860 the Scotch fishing boat was entirely 
influenced by Norway, and even to-day no one could 
deny that this influence is altogether wanting. But at 


Fig. 109. Penzance Lugger. 

last the fisherman began to seek the herring further out 
to sea, and so a bolder, decked ship was evolved, and 
clinker build gave way to carvel, and the design was given 
finer lines and greater draught. I have watched a fleet of 
such vessels as in Fig. 108 running into Scarborough Bay 
with an onshore breeze in the soft light of a September 
afternoon, with their yacht-hke lines and their fine massive 
hulls suggesting an ideal combination of strength and 
beauty. Most of these large " Zulus," as they are called, 
carry steam capstans for getting in the heavy nets, hoisting 
sail and warping into harbour. Within the last few years 
they have been fitted with steering wheels instead of helms. 
They are good boats to windward, and are able to carry 
their enormous lugs longer than most vessels could keep 
aloft a similar area of sail. 

The Cornish lugger is able to carry a larger mizzen but 
a smaller lug forward than his Scotch cousin. Fig. 109 is an 



' < 




example of a Penzance lugger. She draws also more water 
aft than the " Zulu." The Penzance luggers are famous all 
over England for their seaworthiness and easy lines. They 
are usually about fifteen or twenty tons, have in proportion 
to their size very high bulwarks to encounter the Atlantic 

Fio. 110. Deal Galley Punt. 

seas, and an exaggerated outrigger over the stern unsup- 
ported by stays and cocked up at an angle to clear the sea 
when the ship is pitching. Her mizzen is longer than her 
mainmast, and raKes forward at a great angle. Sometimes 
they set a topsail, as seen in the sketch over the mizzen: 
and at times they also run out a bowsprit and jib. 

We could not close our list of characteristic luggers 
without including that brave Uttle ship the Deal galley- 
punt (see Fig. 110). Chapman m his " Architectura Navahs 
Mercatoria,* published in 1768,* shows a Deal lugger (or 
as she is called then a Deal cutter) with three spritsails, 

• " Architectura Navalis Mercatoria," by F. H. Chapman, Holmise. 
1768. f » , 



Fig. 115. The ^M^loodhound." Built in 1874. 


Fig. 114. The "Oim.\ra." Built in 1867. 

p. 318. 


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I s 

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§ C 

C/: Iff 


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the mizzen having a bumpkin, whilst a jib is set on a bow- 
sprit forward : but this type has become obsolete. In 
those days they were engaged in taking out from the shore 
heavy anchors and cables to vessels in the Downs which 
stood in need of them. With the advent of steam and 
improved holding gear their days of usefulness departed. 
But a smaller type, the Deal lugger, of which we now 
speak, is still a feature of the sailing craft at the eastern end 
of the Channel as she goes about her business " hovelling " 
or hovering on the look-out for such odd jobs as taking 
pilots ashore or attending on shipping between Dungeness 
and the North Foreland. Never a ship gets picked up by 
the treacherous Goodwins but the Deal lugger comes run- 
ning out in any weather, ready for a salvage job and a third 
of its value as a reward. Even whilst these lines are 
passing through the press, they have been busy standing 
by the Mahratta liner stranded on the Goodwins, and 
hurrying ashore with the passengers and cargo of tea salved 
from the hold of the big steamer. These little craft sail 
very close to the wind and are out in the worst of weathers, 
and require considerable skill in handling. The one lug- 
sail has to be lowered and hoisted at each tack, but they 
are wonderfully quick both under sail and when rowed. 
Any sailing man will tell you how excellent a sail for 
lifting a boat the lug-sail is, and well the Uttle Deal galley 
needs it. The yard of the sail hooks on to a traveller and 
is hoisted by halyards up the mast, a purchase being used 
to " sweat " it down taught. The rudder is made easily 
detachable, supported on pintles with a rope-strop attached. 
It is her length in proportion to her beam that gives her 
such speed. Clinker-built, the Deal lugger is about thirty 
feet long. Her mast is placed some distance from the 
bows, and is very stumpy, but in spite of this the Deal 
galley punt is a wonderful little ship on a reach. 

Having shown the directions in whiqh the development 
of smaller ships has taken place, and especially m the 




trading and fishing craft, let us now turn our attention to 
that very modern development, the yacht. As we set out 
not to write a history of yachting but of sailing ships, we 
shall consider not the marvellous growth of the queen of 
sports, but the influence which that has had in developing a 
particular species of ship used entirely for the purpose of 
pleasure and racing. We alluded in an earlier chapter to 
King Edgar, whose " sommer progresses and yerely chiefe 
pastimes were the sailing round about this whole Isle of 
Albion." He at least showed the real spirit of a yachts- 
man, and had he lived in later times he might have estab- 
lished the sport on a sound footing many years before it 
began to prosper. 

But let us make no mistake about this word yacht. 
Of Dutch derivation, and related to the Norwegian ^'oegf, 
the word in the seventeenth century signified a transport 
for royalty or some individual of distinguished rank. In 
that way we could include those esneccas mentioned 
earlier in this volume which were prepared for carrying 
British royalty across from these shores to France. But 
it was not until the early part of the seventeenth century 
that the yacht as a special type of vessel, distinct from one 
temporarily adjusted for a short voyage, was produced. As 
other fore-and-afters first saw light in Holland at this time, 
so it was but natural that the yacht should originate there. 
From old paintings and prints we see them rigged after the 
manner of those Dutch lore-and-afters which we mentioned 
as to be seen there in previous pages of this chapter. 
Especially popular for yachts was the sloepe rig with the 
two masts and sails but no headsails, although the boom- 
less but gaff mainsail, fitted with brails not unlike the rig 
of the bawley, was also found. The high stems, square 
and much decorated with carving and ^t, the compara- 
tively low bluff bows and the pair of leeboards were the 
most conspicuous features. The rig was usually cutter or 
sloop (in the sense of having one mast mainsail and 



foresail, but without jib). Later on we find ketches being 

In 1660 the Dutch presented Charles II. with a yacht 
called the Mary, "from whence," writes Sir Anthony 
Deane to Pepys, " came the improvement of our present 
yachts ; for imtil that time we had not heard of such a 
name in England." This Mary was of a hundred tons and 
was the first yacht to appear on our Navy list. She was 
lost in 1675 near Holyhead. From this model Christopher 
Pett in 1661 built the Anne at Woolwich, her tonnage, 
beam, and length of keel being the same as those of the 
Mary, but she drew three feet less water. In the same 
year Charles was presented with another but smaller yacht 
of only 35 tons, called the Bezan, which also came 
from the Dutch. From the arrival of the Mary various 
sized yachts began to be built in England, of which the 
tonnage gradu^y increased. The Katheriney built in 
1661, was captured by the Dutch in 1673. So far had 
this new departure progressed in our country that in 1674 
a design was made for two yachts to be built at Ports- 
mouth for the King of France in imitation of Charles II.'s. 
But the largest built about this time was the new Mary, 
to replace the first one lost. Of 166 tons, she was launched 
in 1677. The smallest yachts were the Minion of 22 
tons, and the Jemmy of 25 tons, and the Isle of Wight 
of a like tonnage. Incidentally we find in the Naval 
MSS. of the time that the dimensions of the biggest 
yacht's mast of the year 1683 were: length 20 yards, 
'* bigness " {i.e., thickness) 20 inches. 

It was during the reign of that apostle of hedonism, 
Charles II., that the yacht became not merely the vessel 
of state but of pleasure. He introduced into England 
yacht racing, although the Dutch had for a long time 
delighted in regattas and naval sham fights with yachts. 
In 1661 Charles sailed in a match from Greenwich to 
Gravesend and back. One impulse that had been given 

X 321 


to the Dutch to build so-called yachts with finer lines 
and high capabilities of speed was the trade carried on to 
the East by their Dutch East India Company, and it was 
this company that had made Charles the present of the 
first yacht he ever possessed. During the eighteenth 
century yachtmg began to be a new sport for noblemen 
and wealthy gentlemen, especially in the neighbourhood 
of Cork. By the end of the century the Solent was 
becoming the cruising ground for a large number of 
English yachts, and in 1812 a yacht club was started at 
the Medina Hotel, East Cowes. In 1817 this newly- 
formed yacht club was joined by the Prince Regent, who 
used to cruise between the Wight and Brighton in the 
Royal George."^ George III. had also patronised yacht- 
ing, and the illustration in Plan 4 gives some idea of his 
yacht the Royal Sovereign, Launched at Deptford in 
1804 she drew 9 feet forward and a foot more aft. She 
was copper-bottomed with a streak of yellow painted 
above, with another streak of blue above that, while 
her stern was ornamented with medallions of the car- 
dinal virtues. Neptune presided over the stern, while 
the figurehead represented her Majesty. It will be 
seen at once how similar in colouring and decoration she 
was to the type of ships prevalent in Charles II.'s time. 
She was said to have been very fast and beautifully deco- 
rated, as well inside as out. She was 96 feet 1 inch long 
on deck with a breadth of 25 feet 7 inches. Her tonnage 
was 280^. She was ship-rigged and carried royals and 
stuns'ls, judging from a print of 1821. In the external 
decoration of this yacht we can see the influence which is 
still manifested in the royal steam yachts of this country 
to-day. The lavish display of gold leaf, the heavy stern 
and general clumsiness — all vile inheritances from the 
days of Charles II. when naval architects knew no better 
— were all reproduced in the old Victoria and Albeit and 

• Tliis vessel was until recently in Portsmouth Harbour. 



have been perpetuated even in the newest royal yacht 
the Alexandria. 

It is only with the nineteenth century that yachting 
really begins, but it was not till after the Crimean War 
that the sport began in earnest. At the beginning of the 
nineteenth century the cutters were built on the Hues of 
the revenue cutters, which as we saw just now, owed 
much to Dutch influence. The reader who wishes to 
see what clumsy creatures they were has only to look 
at Turner's pictures (see, for example, the cutter in 
Fig. 71). In such a painting as Charles Brooking's 
The Calm, numbered 1475 in the National Gallery, 
we readily see the square topsails above the fore-and-aft 
mainsail and head-sails. Brooking lived from 1723 to 
1759, but fifty years later the cutter had remained much 
the same. The spars these yachts carried were enormous, 
and they were built of such strength that they were up to 
the Government standard. Although the cutters were of 
large dimensions, sometimes having a tonnage of 150, yet 
they were very tubby, round creatures, their proportions 
being three beams in length and heavily ballasted after the 
mediaeval manner with gravel, yet sometimes also with iron 
ore. But as match sailing became commoner, naturally a 
means was sought for making the cumbersome craft less 
heavy. The heavy ballast remained, but both timbers 
and planking were of less thickness. Hitherto of chnker 
build, this gradually gave way to carvel- work. One of the 
most famous yachts of the first quarter of the century was 
the J7T0W, built clinker fashion in 1822 and still in 


The illustration in Fig. Ill represents the Kestrel^ 202 
tons, belonging to the Earl of Yarborough, Commodore of 
the Royal Yacht Squadron. In the early 'forties she was 
a well-known ship. She is rigged as a Hermaphrodite 
brig, that is to say she is brig-rigged on her foremast but 
schooner-rigged on her main. She also carries a tier of 




guns. The influence, indeed, of the Royal Navy on these 
early yachts is notable. The cutters were influenced by 
the Government revenue cutters and the bigger yachts by 
the Naval brigs. Fig. 112 also shows a yacht of this period. 
This is the Xarifa which belonged to the second Earl of 
Wilton. She is rigged as a topsail schooner and also 
carries guns. The rigging of yachts at this time was 
chiefly of hemp, but, as will be seen from the accompany- 
ing illustrations, the sails were very baggy. 

In the 'fifties racing between yachts went rapidly 
ahead. The crack cutters of the south coast were the 
Arrow, 84 tons, the Lulworth, 82 tons, the Louisa, 180 
tons, and the Alarm 193 tons. A general improvement 
was taking place. The old-fashioned gravel ballast was 
thrown out and lead was slowlv but surely introduced in 
spite of the criticism that it would strain the ship and cause 
her to plunge badly in a seaway. Next, instead of inside 
the lead was put outside below the keel. Finally the 
tubby proportions vanished and yachts were given greater 
length, greater depth but narrower beam. Early in the 
'fifties Thomas Wanhill of Poole introduced the raking 
sternpost Instead of the Dutch-like bow the long clipper 
bow, now famous among the mercantile ships, was commg 
into popularity. 

But a new force was to come from across the Atlantic 
which had far-reaching effects on the yachts of this country. 
Let us return once more to Massachusetts. The theory 
of the advantage possessed by a sharp entrance and hollow 
water-lines had been proved, in the case of the Gloucester 
fishing and pilot schooners, to be sound and correct. Then 
it was decided to build a yacht on similar but improved 
lines : so in 1851 was launched the famous America, 
costing £4000. She was sailed across to England and on 
August 22, 1851, was the winning yacht for the special 
cup offered by the Royal Yacht Squadron. In the race 
round the Isle of Wight she beat the pick of our cutters 


and schooners so handsomely as to make yachtsmen and 
yacht-builders, designers and sail-makers open their eyes 
in amazement. The cup was afterwards presented by the 
owners of America to the New York Yacht Club as a 
perpetual challenge trophy to be raced for by yachts of all 
nations. The reader is well aware that in spite of various 
plucky attempts we have not yet succeeded in bringing it 
back to the country where it was manufactured. 

After the success of America a change was made in the 
old type of yacht. The Alarm which had been built in 
1834 as a cutter of 193 tons, was in 1852, consequent on 
Americas victory, lengthened 20 feet by the boNv and 
converted into a schooner of 248 tons. The illustration in 
Fig. 113, which is reproduced by kind permission of the 
Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Ryde, shows the Ahrm after 
she had been rigged after the manner of America with one 
head-sail, having its foot laced to a boom, with a fore- 
sail having gaff but no boom, and with a mainsail 
with both gaff and boom. As here seen she justified 
the alterations made in her and remained for many 
years the fastest schooner of the fleet. But not only in 
rig and design did America make a complete revolution. 
Hitherto our sails had been mere wind-bags, but the 
America had her sails made so as to lace to the spars, 
while ours had been loose-footed on the boom. The 
American yacht's canvas thus set flatter and she could 
hold a better wind than our craft. Henceforth English 
sailmakers adopted the new idea. Schooners at least took 
to the new shape at once but the cutters were a little time 
before they followed the lead thus given to them. It was 
to America, therefore, that the last existing relic of 
mediaevalism in British ships was banished off the face of 
the waters for ever. 

In 1852 the famous cutter Arrow, for the same reason 
as had transformed the Alarm, was rebuilt. Her previous 
length when she was first built as far back as 1823 was only 






&'S5 times her beam. In 1852, also, Mr. William Fife of the 
famous " Fife of Fairhe " firm came into prominence with 
the Cymba. Sail-making in the hands of Lapthom & 
Ratsey proceeded along scientific hnes, and eventually 
cotton was used instead of flax. In the 'sixties, following 
the example set by the builders of the clipper-ships, iron 
frame- work was used in combination with wooden skin, 
and from the early 'seventies to the 'eighties the clipper- 
bow had attained such success on big ships that it became 
of great popularity on yachts. But during the 'sixties the 
old straight-stem cutters were at the height of their fame. 
The Oimara, seen in Fig. 114 with the long bowsprit of the 
period, was a famous racing craft of the south coast. Built 
m 1867 by Mr. WilUam Steele of Messrs. Robert Steele & 
Co., Greenock, the well-kno>\Ti builder of clipper-ships, 
her tonnage was 163. She sailed a memorable race round 
the Isle of Wight in August of the following year against 
the American schooners Sappho, Aline and others. Going 
east about, CHmara led the fleet until the Needles were 
rounded, but running back to Cowes against the ebb tide, 
she was beaten by the schooners. This fine ship is still 
afloat in Poole harbour above the bridge, and is used as a 

The Aline just mentioned was another beauty of her 
day. Built by Messrs. Camper & Nicholson of Gosport in 
1860, she was the first yacht to get away from the rakmg 
mast so well seen in the illustration of the Alarm, In the 
Aline the mast was stepped almost upright and she was 
also given a running bowsprit and jib. Another fast ship 
was the famous Egeria, 153-ton schooner, built by Wanhill 
at Poole. She was at her prime during the 'sixties, and 
beat Aline during the former's maiden race in 1865. 

During the 'seventies and till the 'eighties, the tendency 
was to build yachts whose dimensions were still deeper, 
narrower and longer. Beam was thought deserving of 
little consideration and altogether undervalued until the 






year 1886, when an entire change of feeling came. The 
illustration in Fig. 115 shows the wonderful old Bloodhound. 
She was built by Mr. WilUam Fife of Fairhe in 1874 for 
the Marquis of Ailsa and was one of the famous class of 
40-tonners which flourished during the 'seventies and 
into the 'eighties. During the six years she belonged to 
her first owner she won about £2500 worth of prizes, and 
afterwards changed hands. Last year, however, Lord 
Ailsa re-purchased her, and with new sails the old ship 
showed that her marvellous turn of speed had not deserted 
her. She did remarkably well during Cowes week until 
she had the misfortune to be sunk in colhsion with 
VEsperance, and lay for some time at the entrance to 
Cowes fairway, a sad sight, with her masts showing above 
water and her crew at work salving what they could. She 
has since been raised, and this year is again racing with 
surprising success. 

Few yachts, perhaps, are so well-known in name, at 
least, to the general reader, as the Sunbeam, in Fig. 116. 
Built in 1874, and owned by that enthusiastic yachtsman 
and experienced navigator Lord Brassey, the Sunbeam is 
an auxihary topsailyard schooner. She was designed by 
Mr. St. Clare Byrne and is built of teak with iron frames. 
Her length over all is 170 feet ; beam 27j feet ; depth 
13f feet. Her displacement is 576 tons ; her registered 
tonnage 227 ; her draught 13j feet ; while her sail area 
as now altered is 7950 square feet. She has cruised round 
the world, and been into almost every port where she 
could get. She raced across the Atlantic in 1905 to the 
Lizard, with the Valhalla among the competitors, although 
it was not to be expected that she would come in first 
against such an extreme type as the Atlantic, In her time 
she has covered as her best run under canvas, 299 knots 
from noon to noon, whilst her highest speed, also under 
sail alone, was 15 knots. She is still happily with us, and 
is a familiar sight at Cowes, where she fits out. 



During the 'seventies, thanks to Mr. WiUiam Froude 
and others, experiments of the highest educative value 
were made to discover the laws which governed the resist- 
ance of water to bodies moving through it. This led to a 
scientific basis on which to model the lines of yachts hulls. 
But suddenly and unexpectedly, from Maldon, on the 
Blackwater, in a remote comer of Essex, a Mr. E. H. Ben- 
tall, not a professional naval architect but an agricultural 
implement maker, who had received but little training m 
naval architecture, designed and had built the now famous 
yacht the Jullanar, in 1875. Since length means speed, he 
gave her much of this, whilst for stability she was given a 
fairly deep draught. But getting right away from existing 
conventions, he had the courage to dispense with the old- 
fashioned straight stem and stern, and cut away all dead- 
wood from both. And so the Jullanar, with her easy 
lines, and rigged as a yawl, came into being. She had a 
tonnage of 126 (Thames measurement) ; length over all 
110| feet; beam 16*6 feet; and a draught of 13 J feet. 
She immediately displayed such remarkable speed and was 
so successful as a racer that her lines considerably influenced 
the late Mr. G. L. Watson, the famous yacht architect of 
the nineteenth century, in designing the TMstk, although 
this ship did not come into being until 1887. The sketch 
in Fig. 117, showing the hull and rigging of the Jullanar, 
has been made from the fine little model in the South 
Kensington Museum. 

Yacht-design has been considerably modified by con- 
temporary existing measurement rules. Thus, when in 
the 'eighties the only taxed dimensions were, not length 
over all, but length on water-line and sail area, the tempta- 
tion to introduce overhang both at bow and stern was 
irresistible. In Jullanar the germ of the idea existed, but 
it developed to its fullest extent during the 'nineties, and 
so by a curious fatality one becomes witness of still another 
revival, more strange and curious than all the others, the 


revival of that which was indeed one of the most charac- 
teristic features of the Egyptian craft in the early dynasties, 
the overhanging bow and stem. In 1893 was built the 
Satanita, in which this last-mentioned feature is well 
shown. (See Fig. 118.) This powerful beauty has on the 

Fig. 117. The Yawl ** Jullanar." Built in 1875. 

water-line 97*7 feet, and an extreme beam of 24-7 feet, 
and a draught of 16*5 feet. Her sail area (Y.R.A.) 
was in her Solent days 9923 square feet. The 
beautifully-fitting sails seen in the accompanying illustra- 
tion are in wonderful contrast to those hollow bags used 
in the ^Ye-Ame?ica days. In the same year was launched 
King Edward's (then Prince of Wales') Britannia^ which 
with Captain Carter at her helm, won both fame and a 
considerable number of prizes during the 'nineties. Her 
length on the water-line is 87*8 feet ; her extreme beam 
23*66 feet ; and draught 15 feet. The illustration in Fig. 1 19 






of the counter of Britimnia has been specially mcluded to 
jrive the reader some idea of the weight of her mainsail, 
which, as will be noticed, is being hoisted by no less than 
fourteen hands on the halyard, including the ships cook 
and steward. The year 1893 was made memorable by the 
launch also of the Valkyrie, one of the famous trio ot 
yachts of the same name. She measured on the water-line 
86-8 feet ; her extreme beam was 22-33 feet. 1 he illustra- 
tion in Fig. 120 shows VaVcyrie I. It was during this 
year that beam, being no longer taxed, was allowed to 
show its value, and ever since that time the tendency has 
continued for a more wholesome type of boat, instead ot 
the vicious old plank-on-edge class of craft. 

The illustration in Fig. 121 is of the VaUmlla, which, 
like the Sunbeam, has auxiliary engines and is one of the 
larcest and finest sailing yachts in the world. Under the 
ownership of the Earl of Crawford she has made lerirthy 
voyages to distant countries, and was one of the fleet 
which raced in company with the Sunbeam from the 
U S A to the Lizard for the German Emperor s Cup, 
obtaining third prize, and doing the passage across the 
Atlantic in 14 days 2 hours, using sail only. She was 
built in 1892, and was first rigged as a privateer ot a 
hundred years ago with stun's'ls. She even had her ward- 
room, gun-room and armoury after the manner of the 
naval ships of a century ago. In the accompanying illus- 
tration she is seen with courses, topsails, t'gallants and 
royals. But when she came into the hands ot Lord 
Crawford the stun's'ls were aboUshed, and she was given 
double topsails instead of single so as to facilitate her 
being worked with less labour. The old-fashioned deck 
arrangement below was also entirely changed. This 
handsome 1490-ton yacht has recently been sold, and 
left English waters to become an American traming- 

Although American yachting existed long before the 






2 g 
u. c 


races for the America Cup, yet these contests have given 
an enormous fiUip in the United States to the building of 
cutters as apart from their fast schooners. Such vessels, 
built to defend the Cup, as the Defender, launched in 1895, 
the Columbia in 1899 (see Fig. 122), the Constitution \u 
1901, and the Reliance in 1903, are about 90 feet on the load 
water-line, and carry about 13,500 square feet of canvas ; 
though when Reliance beat Shamrock III., the former 
carried over 16,000 square feet. But the most popular 
American large racing cutters are the 70-footers. In 
build the Americans have been accustomed to use lighter 
scantlings than we on this side of the Atlantic. Meteor, 
in Fig. 123, the well-known schooner belonging to the 
German Emperor, was the product of an American yard. 
The photograph here reproduced was taken wliile she was 
racing for the King's Cup inside the Isle of Wight. 

Some sensation was caused in the Solent last summer 
by the arrival and success of the Germania, a remarkably 
fast and pretty schooner, notable as showing the ability to 
which German yacht designers and builders have now 
attained. That we can in England still build cruising 
as well as racing schooners is proved by two such different 
examples as the Elizabeth and the Pampas. The sail plan 
of the former will be found in Plan 5. Launched m 
1906 from the yard of Messrs. White Brothers of Cowes 
from designs by Mr. H. W. White, her tonnage (Thames 
measurement) is 236, her length over all 132 feet, but on 
the water-line 93^ feet. Her draught is 12^ feet, and her 
sail area 7938 square feet. She is also fitted with a motor 
that can be run on either paraffin or petrol with a two- 
bladed propeller, giving a mean speed under motor alone 
of six miles per hour. The deck plan and longitudmal 
section showmg motor installation will be found in Plans 6 

and 7. . v j? 

The Pampas is one of the most interestmg yachts of 

1908. In her will be found the very last word in schooner 




designing and building. The requirements were that she 
should be suitable to go to any part of the world in comfort 
and with speed. In order therefore that she might not be 
handicapped in the Doldrums she was fitted with a 60-horse- 
power motor giving a speed of six knots in smooth water. 
Designed by Mr. C. E. Nicholson, and built by Messrs. 
Camper & Nicholson for Senor Aaron de Anchorena, of 
Buenos Ayres, she has considerably more overhang than 
the Elizabeth, and has shown herself to be very fast under sail 
alone. The sail and rigging plan in Plan 8 will explain 
itself, whilst from the other plans the general internal 
arrangement of this most modern of yachts will be realised. 
She has between her two masts a sunken deck-house, 
a feature that has recently become very popular on sail- 
ing yachts. The two large cabins athwart the ship 
are fitted in satinwood, and other accommodation is 
in ivory white. Electric light and ventilating fans are 
also found on her, and she is classed twenty years Al 
at Lloyd's. 

To return to the English cutters, one of the most 
interesting of modern yachts is that seen in Fig. 124, which 
represents White Heather II. For size and sweet lines, 
with her bold bows and white graceful hull, her lofty mast 
and her mountain of canvas, she is an imposing sight if one 
comes p-cross her on the Solent. She is at her best in a 
strong wind ; in light winds she used to be no match for the 
latest Shamrock. But during the past winter White Heather 
has had some structural alterations made to improve her 
power in light winds. 

An important step was taken in 1906, when an inter- 
national conference was held to devise such an international 
rule as would be acceptable to the whole of yachting 
Europe. During the last fifteen years various rating rules 
had been in force at different times. It was now felt that 
something should be done to pre\ ent the success of the 
racing-machine and sLimniing-dish type, and recent rating 


rules had indeed tended to produce a wholesome cruiser 
that was nevertheless good for racing. The conference 
therefore formulated a new rule based on that which had 
produced such recent healthy types as Nyria ; but a pre- 
mium was placed on freeboard and a check on clumsy 
overhangs, in order that a thoroughly healthy type of sea- 
going yacht might be evolved that should be good as well 
for cruising as for racing. Care was taken also to ensure 
the requisite strength in construction. The rule came into 
force on January 1, 1908. Under this rule. Shamrock IV., 
seen in Fig. 125, was built, and during her maiden 
season last year she showed that in Ught weather there 
was nothing of her size to catch her. In spite of adverse 
criticisms the new rule has in it much that is likely to be 
an influence for good ; and since it is to be in force for ten 
years, it will certainly add to the prosperity of yachting 
by introducing to an extent hitherto unknown the element 
of international racing. 

Shamrock, the fourth of that name owned by Sir 
Thomas Lipton, belongs to the 23-metre class. She was 
designed by Mr. WiUiam Fife and built by Messrs. William 
Fife & Son of Fairlie. She is of composite construction, 
her planking being of mahogany and her frames of steel. 
In yachting, as in the biggest sailing ships, wire rigging 
has now ousted the old-fashioned hemp. Runners, top- 
ping lifts, bobstay falls, outhauls, halyards— all are of wire. 
Racing boats and many cruisers now have rigging screws 
too, while the custom as to ballast is to bolt most of it 
outside the keel. 

But our limit is at length reached. We have watched 
the primitive ship evolve from the tree ; we have seen how 
she has been changed and revived, degenerated and im- 
proved, made larger or smaller, tubbier or more graceful 
according as it has pleased the hand of man. Now that 
we have shown, however imperfectly, with however many 



omissions, her noble and illustrious pedigree, her ancestry 
reaching back through the centuries into the first blush of 
the dawn of the world s creation, perhaps we shall regard 
her with an interest, a respect and affection at once greater 
and deeper because we have become better acquainted 
with the reasons that have caused each of these develop- 










Fig. 123. "Shamrock IV," 23 Metue Cutter. 
Owned by Sir Thomas Lipton. Launched 1908. 

I'liutu. Wist (j- Soil. 
J). 330. 


Braces. Ropes rove through blocks by which to control the yards 
of a square-rigged ship. 

Brails. Ropes used for the purpose of shortening a ship's canvas, 
as in the case of the Phoenician and Roman ships, and to-day in the 
'J'hames barge. 

Careen. To lay a ship over on to her side in order to be able 
to caulk her lower seams. 

Carvel-build. The manner of building a vessel so that the planks 
are laid edge to edge, and not overlapping. 

Caulk. To stop the seams of a ship with oakum, so as to pi*event 
the water entering between the planking. 

Clew. The lower corners of a squaresail, and the aftermost 

corner of a staysail. 

Clinker-build. The manner of building a vessel so that the 
planks overlap each other. (Compare " carvel-build."') 

Crank. An adjective applied to a ship when she is liable to 


Davits. Short pieces, formerly of timber, now of iron, projecting 
over a vessel's side, for hoisting up the ship's anchoi*s or boats. 

Dhow. The term applied generally to the lateen-rigged ships of 

the East. 

Freeboard. The amount of a ship's hull extending from the 

waterline to the gunwale. 

Gaff. A spar used for extending the upper edge of a fore-and- 
aft rectangular sail — e.g.^ the mainsail of a cutter. 

GoARiNG. An old English expression in use during Elizabethan 
times, applied when the lower corners of the sail extended much 
further out than the width of the canvas stretched along the 

Gooseneck. A piece of bent iron fitted to the end of a boom by 
which to connect the latter to the ship. 



'.^^ffi I 

t^BRI I' 




Guy. A rope attached to a spar for the purpose of steadying it. 

Gybe. When a ship so alters her course in running free that the 
wind, instead of coming from one quarter, comes from the opposite 
quarter, the mainsail of a fore-and -after will have swung over, and be 

said to have gybed. 

Halyaed. a rope or tackle used for hoisting or lowering sails 

and spars. 

Jettison. To lighten a ship by throwing goods overboard. 
Jib-boom. The spar which continues further forward the projection 

of the bowsprit. 

Keelson. The piece of timber which is laid on the middle of the 

floor timbers over the keel. 

Lanyaed. a short piece of rope used for various purposes — e^.^ 
for making fast the shrouds to a ship's side. 

Lateen. A long triangular sail bent to a long yard, a charac- 
teristic sail of the Mediterranean and dhow-rigged craft. Also 
carried on the mizzen and bonaventure mizzen of mediaeval full- 
rigged ships. 

Leach. The vertical edges of a sail. 

Lug. a fore-and-aft sail hoisted on a yard, of which not more than 
about a third of its length is forward of the mast. In the diipping- 
lug the tack of the sail is made fast some distance forward of the 
mast, and because the sail must needs be set on the lee side of the 
mast it has to be dipped at each tack and hoisted afresh on the other 


Mizzen. The aftermost mast of a vessel having two or more 
masts ; sometimes called a jigger. In the case of mediaeval ships 
having four masts, the aftermost was called the bonaventure mizzen, 
and the one immediately forward of this the main mizzen. 

Parbal. a band for keeping the end of a yard to the mast; 
made in different ages of basket-work or rope — in the latter case 
running through a number of circular pieces of wood, to prevent 
friction in raising and lowering the yard or gaff. 

Pavissbs. Shields of wood or other material placed round a ship's 
side for a protection against the enemy's missiles ; used also in open 
boats for keeping out the spray. 

Pintle. The Dolt by which a rudder is attached to the stern of a 


Quant. A pole used extensively in Holland and East Anglia for 
the purpose of propelling a craft along shallow waterways. (Greek 
/con-09, Latin cofittis, a pole.) 


Race. A rapid current of disturbed water caused by the uneven- 
ness of the bottom of the sea, frequently found off headlands — eg,, 
St. Alban's Head, Portland Bill, &c. 

RocKEE. The curvature of a piece or pieces of wood in a vessel's 


ScunLE. To cause a ship to sink by making holes in her hull 
below the water-line. 

Sheer. The curve of a vessel's hull from bow to stem, or vice 

Spinnaker. A light, triangular-shaped sail set on the side opposite 
to that on which the mainsail extends, and used when running before 
the wind. 

Sprit, Spritsail. (1) In full-rigged ships the ^/?n7^aiZ was a square- 
sail set on a yard below the bowsprit ; now obsolete. (2) In fore-and- 
aft vessels the sprit is a spar used for stretching the peak of the sail, 
thus extending diagonally across the mast — as, for instance, in the case 
of a Thames barge (see Fig. 99). 

Staysail. Usually triangular in shape, though in the seventeenth 
century sometimes rectangular, hoisted on a stay, between the masts 
or forward of the fore-mast. 

Steeving. The angle which a ship's bowsprit makes with the 

Stimpost. The piece of timber to which the two sides of a ship's 
planking are united at the forward end. 

Step. The block of wood into which the keel of a mast is flxed. 

Strut-frame. A piece of timber used^in shipbuilding for strengthen- 
ing the vessel. 

Tophng-ijfts. Ropes used for the support of the boom of a sail 
when the latter is stowed. 

Truck. A small wooden cap at the summit of a mast. 

Vang. A rope leading down from the end of a gaff to the deck. 
A characteristic of the Dutch sloops and Thames barge rig. 

Wale. One of the planks of a ship. 



i i I 





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Aberdeen, 267 
Adams, Clement, 192 
Adams, M. Robert, 216 
Admirals, rank of, 248 
Admiralty and sheathing, 245 ; 

Admiralty flag, 199 
Adriatic Sea, naval battle on the, 

Africans, East, and the art of 

navigation, 51 
Ailsa, Marquis of, 327 
Aldemey Race, 251 
f Alexander the Great, 44 
Alfred's, King, ships, 131 
Algiers, bombardment of, 235 

piracy, 233 
Althi burns mosaic, 84 
Amasis, 48 
America, Columbus and, 183; 

the Vikings and, 92; the Phoeni- 
cians and, 50 
America Cup, 293, 325 
America, North, discovery of, 

258 ; timber, 268 
American Civil War, 266, 269 

frigates, 256 
American shipbuilding, 266 ; the 

Dutch and, 293 
American War of 1812, 256 
wasters, 296 
yachting, 330 
yachts, 325 

Amsterdam, Rijks Museum, 241 
Anchorena, Senor A. de, 332 
Anchors, 72, 147, 154, 156 
Anglo-Saxon ships, 131-133 
Anne, Queen, navy of, 249 
Anson, Lord, 258 
Anthon/s, Anthony, " Roll,'' 186 
Aphlaston, the, 54, 58 
Arctic expedition, Dutch, 231 

exploration, 218 
Armada, Spanish, 194, 197, 198, 

202, 203, 206 ; tapestries of, 

207 ; number of ships and their 

construction, 211-214 
Artemon, or foresail, 79 
Arun, River, ancient boat found 

near, 100 
Atlantic emigrant traffic, 272 
steamers, 266 
yacht race across the, 330 
Australia, 246, 268, 272 
Australian aborigines and stone 

implements, 99 

Babylonia, 20 

Bakhuizen, Ludolf, 5 

Ballast, 196, 324 

Baltic, Phoenicians on the, 112 

ketches, 303 

ships, 10 
Banners, 153. See also Flags 
Barber, Commander T. M., 37 




Barcelona ships, 170 

Barton Broad, 307 

Baston, T. (engraver), 250 

Bayeux Tapestry, the, 17, 134 

Beaching, oO 

Bedford, John, Duke of, 166 

" Before the Mast,'' 154 

Bentall, Mr. E. H., 328 

Bergen law for sailors, 127 

Bernoulli, Jean, 243 

Bibliography, 335 et seq. 

Bilge water, 249 

Bill-hooks, 187, 199 

Billingsgate, 235, 285, 303 

Binnacles, 179 

Black Ball liners, 270 

Blackwall, 246, 267 

Blake, Admiral, 230, 232, 233 

Blankenberg boat, 312 

Boar's head, 60 

Bodleian Library MS., 203 

Bombay yacht, 309 

Bonaventure mast, 175 

Bonhomme, — , 209 

Bonnets, 153, 178, 195, 275 

Booms, 123 

Boreas, 129 

Boston, 255 

Botley, Viking ship discovered at, 

Bounty system for shipbuilding, 

Bowlines, 179, 198, 210 
Bows, 86; clipper, 266, 324; 

Greek, 61 ; overhanging, 329 ; 

Phoenician, 55; round, 257; 

schooner, 276 ; Viking double, 

Bowsprit, 275 
Brails, 65, 82, 262, 285 
Brassey, Lord, 50, 327 

Bremen, ancient boats discovered 

at, 102 
Breydon Water, 307 
Brigg prehistoric boat, 95 
Brighton, 129, 136, 322 
Bristol as port, 138 
Britanni, the, 104 
British Empire shipping tonnage 

in 1821, 258 
British Museum, models in, 27; 

and Brigg prehistoric boat, 96 
British Navy, size of, in 1813, 256 

{see also under the names of 

monarchs) ; last sailing ship in 

the, 300 
Brixham ketch, 303; Mumble 

Bees, 291 
Broad arrow as Government mark, 

Bronze and Iron Age ships, 104 
Brooking, Charles, 5, 323 
Brosen Viking ship, 117 
Bruges, 163 

Budge, Dr. E. A. Wallis, 22, 28 
Bulkheads, 196 
BuUen, Mr. F. T., on the way of 

the ship, 12 ; on the ships of 

St. Paul's voysige, 15; on 

Elizabethan sea-terms, 210 ; 

on spritsails, 265 ; on clipper 

ships, 271 
Bulwarks, 178 
Burgess, W., 295 
Burmese junks, 7, 31 
" Butter-rigged," 298 
Byrae, Mr. St. Clare, 327 
Bytharne's " Book of W^ar," 188 

Cabins, 148 
Cables, 276 
Cabot, John, 184 


Caesar, ships used by, 87, 93, 103, 

106, 107; and the Northern 

seas, 107 
Calais, siege of, 159 
California, 268 
Caligula, ships of, 76 
Cambyses, 48 
Camper and Nicholson, Messrs., 

326, 332 
Canary Isles, discovery of, 158 
Cannon, introduction of, 158, 168 
Canterbury Cathedral, picture of 

a ship formerly in, 185 
Cape Horn, 268,* 273, 274, 277 
Cape La Hogue, 240 
Cape Verde Islands, 292 
Capelle, Jan van der, 5, 284 
Captain, the, temp. James I., 225 
•' Caravel," derivation of, 182 
Careening, 226 
Carpaccio's pictures of ships, ISO, 

Carrying trade, temp. Queen 

Elizabeth, 193 
Carter, Captain, 329 
Carvel-work, 323 *- 
Cary-Elwes, Mr. V., ancient boat 

belonging to, 96 
Castles on ships, 68, 140, 156, 

169 ; on Armada ships, 211 ; 

absorbed into the hull, 164 ; 

fore and stem, 171 
Catteville, 138 
Caulking, 178 
" Ceols," 134 
Chancellor, Richard, 191 
Chapman, F. H. af, 243 
Charles I. and his navy, 228 
Charles II. and his navy, 234-246 ; 

gift of Dutch yacht for, 289, 321 ; 

introduces yacht-racing, 321 

Chatham, 200, 229, 236, 237, 

China tea trade, 268 

Chinese junks, 31, 310 

Christiania, 291 

Cinque Ports, the, 129, 148, 152, 

Civil War, the, 232 

Claude Lorraine's " St. Ursula," 5 

Clipper races in China tea trade, 

Clitherowe, Admiral, seal of, KiG 

Clowes, Sir W. Laird, 177 

Clyde, the, ancient boat found, 
100 ; five-master built on, 273 

Coal-caiTying trade, 300 

Coasting trade, temp. Queen 
Elizabeth, 193 

" Cocke," or coque, 200 

Coins, ships on, 128, 157 

Colbert, Jean B., 249 

Cole, Mr. Vicat, 5 

Columbus's, Christopher, ship, 
176, 180, 183; model, 182; 
replica, 180; navigation in- 
struments, 184 

Commonwealth, the, and war with 
the Dutch, 232 ; construction 
of ships, 234; decoration of 
ships, 233; and the flying of 
flags, 241 

Compass, variation of the, 193 

Concas, Captain D. V., 180 

Connolly, Mr. J. B., 294 

Cook, Captain, 258 

Cooke, E. VST., R.A., 261 

Cooking galley, Elizabethan, 196 

Copper sheathing, 251 

Coracle, the, 103 

Cork, 322 

Corks, 178 



Cornwall, men of, 202 

Corpus Christi College, Cam- 
bridge, MS., 146, 154 

Cotton ships, 266 

Cowes, 322, 327, 331 

" Crane line," 178 

Crawford, Earl of, 330 

Cressets, 181, 190 

Crimean War, 268, 323 

Cromwell and the Navy, 233 

Crowinshield, — , 295 

Crusades, ships of the, 17, 138, 
139, 141, 146, 153, 172 

Cuyp, A., 5 

Cypress, 246 

Dam, or Damme, seal of, 154, 

276 304 
Dampier, William, 246, 258 
Danes, the, and British love o( 

ships, 109 
Dartmouth, 202, 215, 216 
Dassie, Le Sieur, 243 
David II. of Scotland, coin of, 

Davits, 177 

Deadeyes, 178 ^ 

Deal " galley,'' 131 ; luggers, 318 
Deane, Sir Anthony, 236, 241, 

245, 321 
Deane, Anthony, the younger, 


Decks, 148, 171, 196, 205, 246 

Decoration of royal yachts, 322 

Decoration of ships, temp. Henry 
VIII., 188, 191 ; temv. Eliza- 
beth, 194; during the Com- 
monwealth, 233 

Deptford, 322 

Devon, men of, 202, 291 

Devonport, 257 


Dhow, the, 44 

Digby, Captain, 239 

Dilke, I^y E. F. S., 5 

Dixon, Mr. Charles, 5, 241, 255 

Doldrums, the, 332 

Dover, seal of, 152 

Drake's, Sir Francis, voyage round 

the world, 202 
Draught, Elizabethan, 194 
"Drift sail," 225 
Dublin, 138 
Duemichen, Dr., 40 
Dug-outs, ancient, discoveries of, 

Dumbarton, 274 
Dumfries, ancient boat found 

near, 100 
Dungeness, 319 
Dunraven, Earl of, 183 
Dutch develop fore-and-aft rig, 

282, 283 
Dutch East India Company, 322 
Dutch East Indiamen, stems of, 

Dutch exploration of N.-E. Pas- 
sage, 219 
Dutch man-of-war, seventeenth 

century, model of, 243 
Dutch naval rivalry, seventeenth 

century, 231 
Dutch navy in 1675, 236 
Dutch schuyts, 303 
Dutch ships and English men-of- 
war, 232 
Dutch, war with the, 1667, 237 ; 
invasion of England, 237, 241 

East Coast ketch, 303, 304 
East India Company, founding 

of, 221 ; under James I., 226 ; 

monopoly, 258 


East India Company, Dutch, 322 

East Indiamen, 258 

Eddystone Lighthouse, 246 

Edgar, King, navy of, 132 ; as a 
yachtsman, 320 

Edinburgh Museum, ancient 
boat in, 101 

Edward I., ships of the timeof,154 

Edward III., navy of, 157 ; 
fleet at the siege of Calais, 158 

Edward IV., ships of, 174 ; ship- 
ping in the reign of, IGl 

Edward VI., ships of, 191 

Edward VII., ships of, 264; 
yacht Britannia, 329 

Egyptians, ancient, history of 
ships, 20-45 ; dynasties, 28 ; 
expedition to Punt, 39 ; ex- 
ploration, 26 ; rig of ships, 
11, 29, 38 ; shape of ships, 9 ; 
model rigged boat discovered, 3 

Elizabeth, Queen, maritime 
affairs under, 193-221 

Elm sheathing, 245 

England as the "Sovereign of 
the Seas," temp. John, 148 ; 
temp. Elizabeth, 201 

English fleet, the, opposed to the 
Armada, 211 

English Navy, the, in 1675, 236 

English sailing ships, Viking in- 
fluence on, 127 

English skill, 18 

Ensigns. See Flags 

Etruscan vase showing naval 
warfare, 64 

Europe, Northern, early ships of, 

Exeter, Thomas Beaufort, Duke 
of, seal of, 166 

Eyes on ships, 11, 65 

Fabriano, Gentile da, 161 
Fife, Mr. William, 326, 327, 333 
Fife & Son, of Fairlie, 333 
Fighting-tops, 16, 65, 181 
Figureheads, 12, 194, 228 
Fireships, 236 
FitzGerald, Henry, 146 
Flags, banners, ensigns, streamers, 

&c., 176, 188, 199, 241, 248, 

Flagships, 157 
Florence, Duke of, 246 
Forecastle, Greek, 65 
Forecastles reduced, 194. See 

also Castles 
France and England, Norman 

trade between, 137 
French models in English naval 

architecture, 259 
French navy in 1675, 236 
French ships, fifteenth century, 

164 ; seventeenth century, 244; 

warehips, sixteenth century, 

184 ; eighteenth century, 249 
French, ships taken from the, 

Friesland oarsmen, 131 
Froude, Mr. William, 328 
Furneaux, Mr. Henry, on " pon- 

tibus," 108 

" Galleys " and " ships," 138 

Gallic ship, 88 

Gama, Vasco da, 51, 184 

Gauckler, M. P., 84 

Geestemiinde, 275 

Genoa, ships of, 170 

George III. and yachting, 322 

German Emperor's Cup, 330 

German Ocean, 282 

German, St., 137 




German yacht desiVners, 331 
Germanic craft, 10^ 
Germanicus, ships built by, 108 
Germans as sailing-men, 274 
Giorgione, 130 
Glasgow, ancient canoes found 

near, 101 ; ship built at, 274 
Glass, stained, pictures of ships, 

Gloppen Viking ship, 117 
Gloucester, Massachusetts, 293 
Gloucester, Richard Plantagenet, 

Duke of, seal of, 166 * 
Gnomon, 71 
Godredus Crovan, 138 
Gogstad Viking ship, 117-121 ; 

replica of, crosses Atlantic, 119 
Gold rushes and shipping, 268 
Gondola, the, 16 
Goodwins, the, 319 
(losport, 326 
Grapnel, the, 1 54 
Gravesend, 321 
Greece, ancient ships of, 55-72 ; 

Phoenician influence, 47, 55 ; 

materials of ships, 62 ; galleys, 

9 ; naval warfare, 64 ; naviga- 
tion, 71 
Green, Mr. Richard, 267 
Green, Messrs., of Blackwall, 267, 

271 272 
Green^k, 267, 326 
Greenwich Naval Museum, 

models in, 5, 255, 256, 257, 

Greenwich Royal Observatory 

founded, 235 
Greenwich, yacht race in 1661, 

Guns and rjunpowder, 158 
Guns, placing of, 168, 173, 253 

" Gunwale," origin of, 168 
Gustafson, Professor Gabriel, and 

the Gogstad Viking ship, 118; 

Oseberg Viking ship, 121 
Guy, Captain, 239 

Hakluyt, Richard, 3, 49, 132, 
138, 140, 141, 147, 148, 149, 
152, 191, 192, 202, 211 

Hakluyt Society's stamp, 236 

Hall, Mr. H. R., 22 

Hamble (or Hamill), 174, 179 

Hamburg, 274 

Hanseatic league, 159 ; wane 
of, 191 ; English ships pur- 
chased from, 190 

Harold, ships of, 134 

Harrow, seal at, 167 

Harwich, 290 

Hastings, seal of, 152 

Havre, 266 

Hawkins, Sir John, 193, 245 

Hawse, 178 

Hemp, Russian, &c., 234 

Hemy, Napier, 5 

Henry I. and maritime industry, 

Henry H., progress of shipping 
under, 138; crusade of, 153 

Henry III., ships under, 148; 
and Norwegian merchants, 145 

Henry IV., ships under, 159 

Henry V., ships of, 160 ; and 
Genoese ships, 172 ; increase of 
navy, 173 

Henry VI., shipbuilding in reign 
of, 161 

Henry VII., ships of, 173 

Henry VIII., ships of, 185-191, 

Heywaid, Edward, 241, 242 


Hiring ships, 177 

Holbein's " Embarkation of 

Henry ¥111.," 185 
Holland. See Dutch 
Holland, English merchants ot, 

seal of, 167 
Holyhead, 321 
House of Lords tapestries, 207, 

« Hovelling," 319 
Howard of Effingham, Lord, 200, 

201, 207 
Howard, Sir Philip, 78, 245 
Hoyle, Dr., Manchester Museum, 

Hubert of Borough, 148 
Hudson River, 295 
Huguenots, the, 209 

Hull, 159 

Huntingdon, John Holland, Earl 

of, seal of, 166 

India, 272. See also East India 

Ipswich, manufacture of sailcloth 

at, 209 
Iron in shipbuilding, 259, 268 
Ironworks, temp. Charles I., 234 

James I., ships of, 222-228 ; and 

English piracy, 222 
Jesup Expedition, the, 32, 104 
Jochelson, Mr., and Koryak boat, 

John, King, and the Navy, 


Keels, 134 ; sliding, 255 
Kempenfelt, Admiral, 250 
Kent, men of, 133 
Khorsabad, Palace of, 51 

Kiel Museum, boat in, 95 

King's Cup, 331 

Kinyras, King of Cyprus, and 

terra-cotta " fleet," 69 
Kipling, Mr. Rudyard, 12, 294 
Knights of Malta, 216 
Koryak boats, 32, 104 

La Rochelle, seal of, 167 
Labour-saving on American 

schooners, 297 
Lancaster, Sir James, and scurvy, 

Langton, Archbishop, 148 
Lapthorn & Ratsey, 326 
Latchetes, 178 

Lateen sail, 14, 175, 282, 309 
Lateran Museum, 43 
Layard, Sir Austin, 51 
Lead ballast, 324 
Lead-covered keels, 192 
Lead-line, the, 79 
Lead sheathing, 245, 276 
Lepanto, battle of, 221 
Leslie, Mr. Robert C, 265 
Lifeboat, the, 255 
Lipton, Sir Thomas, 333 
Liverpool, 273 
Loch Arthur, Dumfries, ancient 

boat in, 100 
London as port, 138 
London Bridge, Dutch schuyts 

at, 303 
Longships, 61 
Louis XIV. and the French navy, 

236, 249 
Louvre, the, 6 
Lowestoft, 304, 307, 315 
Lowestoft " driftei-s," 13 
Lug-sail, 312 
Lynn, Norfolk, 156, 158 




McCuxN, Mr. James, 271 
Macham's voyage to Madeira, 

Mackie & Thomson, Messrs., 274 
McMillan, A., & Son, Messrs., 

Madeira, Island of, 158 
Magnet, the, 154 
Mainsail, 285 
Mainwayring, Sir Henry, 198, 

203, 205, 224, 303 
Maldon, 328 
Malta, Knights of, 216 
Maltese galley, 216 
Man, Isle of, 138 
Manchester Museum, Egyptian 

boat in, 3, 33 
Manuscripts, pictures of ships on, 

Maritime laws under Richard I., 

Mark, St., mosaic of, 144 
Marlin spikes, 179 
Marquez, Pero Menendez, 214 
Marseilles, 113 
Mary, Queen, fishing, &c., traffic 

in reign of, 193 
Mason, Mr. Frank H., models by, 

152, 181 
Maspero, Professor, 41 
Mass, dry, 190 
Masts, 172, 242, 243, 274 
Mediterranean craft, 56, 139 ; 

galley, 16; galley and North 

Sea ship, 91 ; warship of 

thirteenth century, 142 
Mem line, pictures by, 4, 130, 

Mercantile marine, progress of 

the, 257 
Mercator's chart, 193 

Merchant ships, Egyptian, 85 ; 
Greek, 61, 85; Roman, 81; 
Anglo-Saxon, 133; Eliza- 
bethan, 201 ; Mediterranean, 

Merchantman and man-of-war, 
similarity of, in Stuart times, 

Metallic age, the, and shipbuild- 
ing, 105 

Middleton, Commissioner, 239 

Milesian sea- traders, 48, 55 

Mizzen mast, 172 

Monson, Sir William, 197 

Moore, Henry, 5 

Moresby, Admiral, 263, 264 

Motors as aids to sailing ships, 2, 

Museums, models of ships in, 5 

Nails, bronze, 276 
Napoleon III.'s trireme, 70 
National Gallery pictures, 259, 

284, 285, 323 
" Nautical Almanac,'' founded, 


Naval architecture, scientific 
study of, 243; progress in 
seventeenth century, 246; in 
nineteenth century, 257 

Naval expeditions of the crusades, 

Naval officers and navigation, 
264 ^ y 

Naval warfare, Greek, 64 
Navigating methods of the Vi- 
kings, 126 
Navigation, ancient Greek, 71 
Navigation laws. Queen Eliza- 
beth, 193 
Naville, Dr. Edouard, 41 


Navy Board and sheathing, 245 ; 

rating, 249 
Neco (Egyptian king), 49 
Nelson, Lord, 251 ; his signal, 

251; painting of his ships, 

Nemi, Lake of, Roman ships in, 

Nettings, 209 

New York, 266, 267, 293, 296 
New York Yacht Club, 325 
New Zealand, 272 
Newcastle hoys, 235 
Newcastle-on-Tyne, 159, 258 
Newfoundland fisheries, 202, 258, 

Nicholas de Sigillo, 146 
Nicholas of Lynn, 158 
Nicholas, St., patron saint of 

sailors, 3, 129, 136, 161 
Nicholson, Mr. C. E., 332 
" Nor," the prefix, 112 
Norfolk wherries, 13, 34, 112; 

yawls, 315 
Norman ships, 134-138 
Norris, Admiral Sir John, 186 
Norsemen, the, 109-127,131. See 

also Vikings 
North Pole, Dutch voyage to, 

North-East Passage, search for, 

191, 219 
North- West Passage, 291 
Norwegian merchants, 145 
Norwegian yawl, 13 
Norwich, 307 
Nottingham, Earl of. *SV^ Howard 

of Effingham 
" Nugger," Egyptian, 43 
Nydam, Viking ship discovered 

at, 115 


Oak, English, scarcity of, 268 
Octher, voyage of, 132 
Oleron, laws of, 147 
Oppenheim, Mr., 175, 176, 178, 

179, 233 
Orwell, the, 302 
Oseberg Viking ship, 121 
Outriggers, 179 

Paddle v. screw test, 263 
Paddle-wheel steamers, 263 
" Painters," 178 

Painting ships, 176 ; of men-of- 
war, 255 
Pallion, 271 
Panama Canal, 277 
Paris, Admiral, 310 
Paris, seal of, 141 
Paul, St., voyages of, 15, 79, 314 
Pavesses, 179, 209 
Penn, Sir William, 238 
Penzance luggers, 318 
Pepys, Samuel, 18, 187, 237- 

240 ; " Register," 246 
Personality of ships, 12 

model Egyptian boat, 3, 27, 

Pett, Christopher, 321 
Pett, Phineas, and family, 227, 

229, 236, 246 
Pharos, tower of, 71 
Phoenician ships, 46-55 
Phoenicians, the, influence of the 

Egyptians, 47 ; as traders, 47 ; 

as sailors, 48 ; as explorers, 49 ; 

and the North Sea ships, 92 ; 

on the Baltic, 112 
Pictures of ships, 5 
Pilots, laws for, temp, Richard I., 






Pin Mill, 302 

Pine's, John, engravings of House 

of Lords tapestries, 207 
Pipe Rolls, 146 
Piracy, temp, ancient Greece, 68, 

85; North Sea, ^mp. Henry IV., 

159 ; English, temp. Elizabeth, 

222 ; Algerian, 233 
" PlimsoU "^ marks, early, 215 
Pliny, the elder, 102 
Plymouth hooker, 291 
Pompei, tomb at, 60 
Poole, 326 ; seal of, 156 
Poop, the, 16, 181 
Portholes, 173 
Portsmouth, 138, 209, 241, 245, 

Portsmouth Dockyard, founded, 

Portugal, maritime progress in 

sixteenth century, 180 
Portuguese fishing boats, eyes 

on, 65 
Potter, Messrs. W. H. & Co., 

Prussia, 159 
Pytheas's giiomcrfi, 71 

«' Quant,'' 67 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 194, 197 
Rams, Greek, 58, 63; galleons, 

Ramsgate, 303, 304 
Rating rules, yachts, 332 
Ratings, 237, 249 
Red ensign, 254 
Reefing gear, 276. See also 

Reefing in Elizabethan times, 


Revenue cutters, 323 

Richard I. in the Mediterranean, 
17 ; his navy, 138, 141, 146, 

Richard II., reign of, 159 

Richard III., shipping in reign of, 

Rifeh, Egypt, early boat found 
at, 3, 27, 33 

Rigging, ancient Egyptian, 11, 
29, 38; ancient Greek, 59; 
Ark Royal, 198; brigs, 300; 
caravel of sixteenth century, 
181 ; Columbus's ship, 182 ; 
corvettes, 252 ; development 
and progress, 81, 275-277; 
East Indiamen, 264-265 ; 
eighteenth century, 247-248; 
Elizabethan, 210 ; fore-and-aft, 
220, 244, 281-334; four- 
masted barques, 273, 274; 
Henri Grace a Dieu, 186; 
lateen, 14 ; Mediterranean 
warship, 143 ; Phoenician, 48 ; 
Roman, 74 ; Royal Charles, 
241 ; ship of British Navy of 
1815 (details), 278-279 ; ship 
painted by Gentile da Fabriano, 
161 ; sloop, 220 ; Spanish 
galleon, 213 ; Spanish treasure- 
frigate, 214; squaresail, 11; 
three-decker, 230 ; Victorian, 
early, 260-262, (model) 1 ; 
warship of Henry VII., 174. 
See also Ships (types) 
Rock carvings, Scandinavian, 110 
Roman galleys, 9 ; ships, 73-88, 

Hopes, ancient Greek, 67 
Roses, the Wars of the, 161, 173, 

Rother, the, Kent, ancient boat 

found, 100 
Rouen, 166 
Roundships, 61 
Royal ships hired to merchants, 

Royal United Service Museum, 

models, &c., in, 5, 181, 216, 

235 243 250 
Royal'victoria Yacht Club, 325 
Royal Yacht Squadron, 324 
Royals, 230 
Rudder-bands, 80 
Rudders, 144, 150, 156 
Ruisdael (artist), 5 
Rutherglen, seal of, 167 
Rye, seal of, 167 

Sagas, the, 89 
Sail-making, 326 
Sailcloth manufacture, 209 
Sailing power, revival of, 277 
Sailors under King John, 148; 
temp. Queen Elizabeth, 197; 
temp. James I., 225 ; present- 
day " sailors," 2 
Sails, of the Ark Royal, 200 ; 
colours of, 67 ; cutting, 201 ; 
decorated, 83, 209; develop- 
ment of, 276, 284; scientific 
treatment of, 243 ; Viking sails, 
122, 123, 124 
St. Andrew's flag, 241 
St. George's flag, 241, 242 
San Francisco, 267, 291 
San Sebastian, Spain, seal of, 156 
Sandefjord, 272 
Sandwich, seal of, 141, 149 
Saracen ship and Crusaders, 140 
Saxons, vessels of the, 109 
Scandinavian coin, ship on, 133 

Scandinavian rigs, 12 

Scandinavians. See Noi-semen 

Scarborough Bay, 317 

Schank, Admiral, 255 

Schooner, origin of the name, 

Scotch fishing boat, Norwegian 
influence on, 317 

Scott, Messrs., 267, 268 

Screw propeller, 257 

Screw steamer, advent of, 263 

Sea, the call of the, 19 

Sea- terms in Elizabethan English, 

Seals, mediaeval, ships on, 128 

Seamanship, early European, 
137 ; " marlin-spike seaman- 
ship," 275 

Sennacherib, palace of, 51 

Seppings, Sir Robert, 257, 259 

Shakespeare, sea-terms used by, 

Sheathing, 245, 250, 251, 276 

Sheer, 277 

Sheerness, 237, 245, 277 

Shetland Isles boats, 13 

Shields, 179 

Shields, North and South, 258 

Shipbuilding, origins of, 90, 94 ; 

Norse, 125; Norman, 135; temp. 

Queen Elizabeth, 193; pro- 

gress of, 218; in England in 

1841-47, 266 
Shipbuilding terms, ancient, still 

extant, 103 
Ships, cost of building, seven- 
teenth century, 246 
Ships, history : 

Sources for history, 3-4 
Reconstruction and develop- 
ment , 6 8 






Ships, history — continued 

Primitive man, 23 

Early Egyptian, 20-45 

Phcenician, 46-55 

Greek, 55-72 

Roman, 73-88, 106 

Northern Europe, 89-127 

Mediaeval, eighth century to 
1485, 128-169 

Anglo-Saxon, 131-133 

Norman, 134-138 

Henry VII. to Elizabeth 
(1485-1603), 170-222 

Spain and Portugal, 180 

James I. to eighteenth cen- 
tury, 222-253 

Nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries, 254-280 
Ships, named : 

^/arm, 251,324, 325 

Jledo, 263 

Alexandria, 323 

J line, 326 

Alnwick Castle, 271 

America, 293, 324, 325 

Ann Gallant, 190 

Aniie, 321 

Ariel, 270 

Ark Royal, Ark Raleigh, or 
^7wi^/?oya/, 194, 197-201, 
226, 228 

An-ow, 323, 324, 325 

Ascension, 22] 

Atlantic, 327 

Bear, 228 

Seller ophon, 176 

Bezan, 321 

Black Adder, 270 

Bloodhound, 327 

Bo7ia Confidentia, 192 

Bona Esperanssu, 192 

Ships, named — continued 
Bonaveniure, 245 
Britannia, 329, 330 
Buss of Zeland, 160 
Busship, 160 
Caledonia, 255 
Challenge, 267, 269 
Challenger, 267 
Charles, 246 
Christopher Spayne, 160 
Chrysolite, 269 
Cogge, 159 
Columbia, 331 
Columbia II., 50 
Commerce de Marseilles, 252, 

Co7istant Warzvick, 232 
Constitution, 331 
Cordeli^re,HS, 179, 184, 188 
Cw«7/ ^arA:, 270 
Ct/r/i*a, 326 
Cynthia, 256 
Defeiider, 331 
Dcsdemona, 272 
Dogger, 160 
Doggership, 160 
Dreadnought, 16, 1 76 ; 

(Charles II.), 245 
Dunkerque, 273 
Edward Bonaventure, 192 
£:^^r«i, 326 
Elizabeth, 331, 332 
FantSme, 299 
Fi^ry Cro^.y, 270 
Florencia, 212 
F/«/in^ C/oi^, 266, 270 
Forttma, 272 
France, 273 
Fredonia, 295 
Frw%, 159 
Gainsboroiigh, 233 

Ships, named — continued 
Germania, 331 
G;oa, 291 
Godezere, 159 
Go/^w ZioM, 240 
Governor, 174 
6?rflc^ ^ Z>im, 174, 177, 178, 


Grand Louise, 184 
Grm^ Republic, 267 
Harry Grace a Dieu, 177 
Hawkin Derlin of Dantzik, 

/f^dor, 221 
Helena, 160 
//mW Grac^ a Z)i^«, 185, 

186, 196 
Henrietta, 245 
Holigost, 160 
Hotspur, 271 
/5a6^/, 160 
/.9Z^ o/ W%/i^ 321 
Jam£S, 246 
James of London, 185 
Jemmy, 321 
Jesus, 160 

Jesus of Lubeck, 187, 197 
Jullatiar, 305, 328 
Katherine, 321 
Katherine Pomegranate, 185 
A'^fj^r^Z, 323 
A€7/wi^, 311, 312 
La 5Zfl?icA^ JV^, 138 
La Felipe, 156 
La* Cinqu£ Llagas, 216 
Leicester, 204, 211 
VEsperance, 327 
Liverpool, 273 
Z/Orrf o/* ^Ae /s/^*, 268 
Louisa, 324 
Lulworth, 324 

Ships, named — continued 
Macquarie, 272 
Mad/re de Dios, 21 5 
Mahratta, 319 
Margaret, 159 
Marie Rose, 195 
ilfar^in, 299 
Martin Garsia, 174 
3fa7T/, 289, 321 
Mary Fortune, 177 
Mary of the Tower, 174 
Mary Rose, 185 
Mauretania, 75, 189, 274 
Merchant Royal, 204, 211 
Mer-honour, 228 
J/e^^or, 331 

Michael of Yarmouth, 159 
Jfmiow, 321 
Mora, 137 
Murrian, 187, 188 
Newcastle, 258 
Nicholas, 160 
iViwa, 180, 183 
Northampton, 271 
%ria, 333 
Oimara, 326 
0/ii;^ 5a/iA:, 273 
Pampas, 331 
P^^^r, 160 

P^^^r q/* Wivetmu 160 
P^^r Pomegranate, 185 
Phoenix, 245 
PmAri^, 294 
Piw^a, 180, 183 
Po^o^, 274 
Preussen, 275 
Prince /?o«/a/, 197, 227, 228, 

229, 230, 242 
Prince, TA^, 240, 242 
e?^^i, 260, 261, 262 
Qiieen Margaret, 274 




Ships, named — continued 
Rattler, 263 
Red Thagon, 221 
Regent, 174, 180, 184 
Reliance, 331 
Resolution, 242, 244 
Royal Charles, 240, 241 
Royal Frederick, 260 
Royal George, 10, 195, 250, 

251 322 
Royal Louis, 239, 243 
Royal Pri/fwe, 242 
Royal Sovereign, 229 
Royal Sovereign (yacht), 322 
Rupert, 244 
*S'an* Par^i/, 257 
Santa Maria, 53, 176, 180, 

181, 183 ; modern replica, 

180 ; model, 182 
Sappho, 326 
Satanita, 329 
Scornberg, 270 
Sea Witch, 269 
^SW-ica, 270 
Shamrock, 10, 282 
^S'AawrocA:///., 331,332 
Shamrock IV., 333 
Shipper Berline of Prussia, 

*S;r Lancelot, 270, 271 
aSV)// Royal (Lc Soldi Royal), 

Sovereign, 175, 179, 180, 

184, 185, 242 
Sovereign of the Seas, 7, 229, 

230, 267 
Sto7iehouse, 271 
,S'<n/.y^ ofDawske, 187, 188 
^^wwi^fam, 297, 327, 330 
Susan, 221 
Sweepstake, 177 

Ships, named — continued 

Taeping, 270 

Taitsing, 270 

Tartarus, 263 

rm-i6/^, 250 

Thermopylae, 270, 271 

r^w^Z^, 328 

Thomas W, Lawsim, 296 

Thyatera, 270 

ri^^r, 190 

Tillikum, 302 

Traders Increase, 226 

Trinitie, 159 

rW7i% o/ W^i^/^^ 185 

Trinity Royal, 160 

Triumph, 197, 204 

Valhalla, 327, 330 

Valkyrie, 330 

Valkyrie L, 330 

Vanguard, 201 

Fmwm, 260 

Victoria and Albert, 322 

Victory (Elizabethan), 242 

nd077/ (Nelson's), 140, 251, 

Whang-Ho, 312 

fr^i^^ Elephant, The, 240 

fT/ii^^ Heather IL, 10, 332 

A'flri/a, 324 
Ships, naming of, 125 
Ships, sizes, Phoenician, 54 

Koman, 75, 81 
Ships, types : 

Reconstruction of former 
types, 6 

Actuaria, 86, 107 

American clippers, 266 

American frigates, 256 

American schooner, 296 

Bal lingers, 160 

Barges,145, 154,160,305,306 


Ships, types — continued 

Barks, or barques, 139, 208 

272, 273, 300, 301 
Barquentine, 298 
Bastard galleasses, 206 
Bawlev, 290 
Billy-boy, 303 
Bireme, 48 

Bomb ketch, 235, 249, 302 
Bombay yacht, 309 
Brigantine, 208, 300 
Brigs, 249, 258, 299, 300 
British clippers, 267 
Brixham Mumble Bees, 291 
Bucca, buss, or buzzo, 124, 

139, 145 
Burmese junk, 31 
Caracks, 139, 140, 160, 170, 

173 215 
Caravels, 139, 171, 180 
Carra-muzzal, 218 
Carvel-built, 166, 190 
Catascopiscus, 86 
Chasse-maree, 314 
Chinese junk, 31 
Cladivata, 88 
Clippers, 256, 267 
Coasters, 258, 277 
Cogs, 145 
Collier, steam, 258 
Coracle, 103 
Corbita, 86 
Cornish lugger, 317 
Corvettes, 252 
Crayers, 185 
Cutters, 289 
Deal "galley," 131 
Deal luggers, 318 
Dhow, 44 
Dragon, 124 
Dromons, 139, 143 

Ships, types — conttnufd 
Dug-out, 25, 90, 95 
Dutch fly-boat, 294 
Dutch galleon, 219 
Dutch schuyt, 220, 285 
East Indiamen, 258, 264 
Egyptian " nugger,"" 43 
Esnecca,124,133, 146 
Felucca, 309 

Fore-and-aft schooner, 277 
Frigate, 205, 208, 232, 252 
Galleasses, 69, 204, 205, 206, 

Galleons, 203, 205, 206, 213, 

Galleys, 57, 139, 216, 246 
Galleys as war- vessels, 171, 

204, 206 
Galliots, 204, 208, 303 

Gloucester schooner, 294 

Great ships, 139, 204 

Gun-brigs, 249 

Hailam junk, 310 

Hermaphrodite brig, 300 

Hippago, 85, 145 

Hoys, 235 

Iron barque, 272 

Iron ships, 259, 268 

Italian merchantman, 206 

Jackass barque, 301 

Junks, 31, 310 

Ketch, 235, 302 

Koryak craft, 32 

Large sailing ship, 254 

Lifeboat, 255 

Long serpent, 124, 133, 146 

Longship, 124 

Lowestoft drifter, 304 

Luggers, 312 et seq. 

Merchant vessels, 172, 205, 




Ships, types — continued 
Monoxylon, 95 
Motor barges, 280 
Motor-propelled ships, 291 
Musculus, or mydion, 85 
Nave, 218 

Norfolk wherry, 307 
Paddle-sloop, 263 
Paddle-steamers, 263 

Paro, 85 

Penzance lugger, 318 

Pink, 236 

Pinnace, 205, 208, 229 

Plymouth hooker, 291 

Ponto, 87 

Portuguese carack, 215 

Prosumia, 87 

Quadrireme, 65 

Schedia, 85 

Schooners, 277, 292 et seq, 

Schuyt, Dutch, 220, 285 

Scotch " Zulus," 317 

Screw ship, 263 

Shallops, 208 

Sibbick rater, 309 

Skin boats, 102-105 

Skuta, 120, 124 

Sloops, 220, 249, 292 

Snekkja, 124, 133, 146 

Spanish treasure - frigates, 

Square-rigged, 192 
Steam collier, 258 
" Stumpies,'' 305 
Tartana, 218 
Tesseraria, 85 
Thames barge, 305 
Three-decker, 227, 229 
Topsail schooner, 298 
Trireme, 48, 69 
Victualling ships, 185 


Ships, types — continued 

Viking, or double-ended, 90, 


Viking-like, 171 

WTarships, Tudor, 178, 188, 

Wherry, Norfolk, 307 
Yachts, 289, 320 et seq. 
Yarmouth yawl, 315 
Yawls, 314 
Yorkshire cobble, 60 
« Zulus," 317 
Shotover, 234 

Shovel, Sir Cloudesley, 247 
Sidon, coins of, 52 
Signals, code of, 188, 249 
Sigurdson, Harald, 122 
Skins for boats, 102-105 
Sluys, battle of, 157 
Smith's, Captain John, descrip- 
tion of taking a prize, 223- 
Smyth, Mr. Warington, 307, 

Snape, Suffolk, Viking ship dis- 
covered at, 115 
Soames & Co., Messrs., 271 
Solent, the, 322 
Somerscales, Mr. T., 5 
South Kensington Museum, 
models in, 5, 181, 216, 241, 
271, 299, 309, 31 1; 328 
Southampton Water, 174 
Southend, 290 

Spanish Armada. See Armada 
Spanish maritime progress, six- 
teenth century, 180 
Spanish seamen, time of Armada, 

Spanish treasure-frigates, 214 


Spars, interchang:eable, 260 

Speiring's, Francis, tapestries of 
Spanish Armada, 207 

Spithead, 250 

Spritsail, 265, 283 

Squaresail, 11, 244, 281 

Stanfield, Clarkson, 5 

Steysail, 283 

Steamships, supersede sailing 
vessels, 2, 272; introduction 
into the Navy, 263 

Steele & Co., Messrs., Greenock, 
267, 271, 326 

Steele, Mr. William, 326 

Steering paddles, 146 

Stems, 12, 16, 244, 289 ; " canoe," 
276 ; circular, 257 ; overhang- 
ing, 329 

Stone age, the, and shipbuilding, 

Stone implements in modem use, 

Stow Wood, 234 
Stuart, Mr. Villiers, 33 
Suez Canal, 272 
Suiones, the, 110 
Summercastle, 175 
Sunderland, 266 
Sydney, Sir Philip, 209 
Symonds, Sir William, 259, 299 

Tacitus, 108, 109 

Tacking, the ancients and, 44 

Tallow for bottoms of ships, 232 

Tapestries, ships on, 130; Bayeux 
Tapestry, 17, 134; Spanish 
Armada, House of Lords, 207 

Tea trade, the China, 268 

Teak, 257 

Tecklenborg, Messrs. J. C, 275 

Telescopes, 193 

TeiTy's, Captain C. E., model of 

the Santa Maria, 182 
Thompson, Messrs. J., & Co., 267, 

Timbers, diagonal, 257 
Tonnage measurement, 231 
Topgallant sail, 175 
Topmasts, 173, 195 
Topsails, 83, 284 
Trading vessels. See Merchant 

Trafalgar, 254, 262; mistake in 

signals, 252 
Trinity House Corporation, 193; 

pictures, 227 
Tromp, Admiral van, 285 
Trondhjem Fjord, ships found on 

shores of, 114 
Trumpeting on ancient ships, 149 
Tudor colours, the, 191 
Tudor period, development of 

ships during the, 221 
Tuke, Mr. H. S., 5 
" Tumblehome," 168, 244 
Tune Viking ship, 117 
Tunis, excavations near, 84 
Turkish pirates, vessels of, 218 
Turner, J. M. W., R.A., pictures 

by, 5, 259, 285, 289, 300, 323 
Tyre and Sidon, kings of, 49 

Union flag, the, 241, 242 

Union Jack, the, 254 

United Service Museum. See 

Royal United Service Museum 
United States coasting trade, 296 
Ursula, St., the pilgrimage of, 4, 


Valdermoor Marsh, Schleswig- 
Holstein, boat found at, 95 





Vasco da Gama, 51, 184 

Velde, Willem Van der, 5, 229, 
285, 287, 289 

Velleius Paterculus, 102 

Veneti, ships of the, 90, 93, 105, 

Venetian warship (thirteenth cen- 
tury), 142 

Venetians, English ships pur- 
chased from, 190 

Venice, St. Mark's, mosaics in, 
130, 144 

Venice, ships of, 153, 170 

Victoria and Albert Museum. 
See South Kensington Museum 

Victoria, Queen, 260 

Viking ships, 10, 13, 14, 90, 110 ; 
arrangements of, 122, 125, 127 ; 
sails, 122-124 ; steering, 156 ; 
navigation, 126; the Phoeni- 
cians and, 92 ; connection 
between and the Mediterranean 
galleys, 91 ; discovery of re- 
mains of ships, 115-122 

Vikings, the, influence of on 
ships, 156, 285; harass Eng- 
land and France, 130 ; burial 
in ship-shape graves, 113- 

Virginia, 246 

Voss, Captain J. C, 302 

V)X)om, Hendrik C, pictures by, 
207, 220 

Wanhill, Thomas, of Poole, 324, 

War-galleys, Greek, 60 
Warships and warfare, Norse, 

Watson, Mr. G. L., 328 
Waymouth, Mr., 271 

West Countrymen, temp. Eliza- 
beth, 202 
West Indiaman, 259 
West Indies, 214, 258, 259 
Whale-boats, 14 
Whitby, 303 

White Brothers, Messrs., 331 
White Ensign, the, 254, 255 
\Vhite, Mr. H. W.,331 
Whitstable, 290 

William the Conqueror, 17, 134 
Willoughby, Sir Hugh, 191 
Wilton, Earl of, 324 
Winchelsea, seal of, 149 
Winches, 179 
Winchester Cathedral, font, 129, 

Wool trade, Flemish, 154 
Woolwich, 227, 246, 250, 321 
Wyllie, Mr. W. L., R.A., 5 
Wynter, Sir William, 201 

Xerxes, 48, 5Q 

Yacht, first, in England, 289 ; 
modification of yacht design, 
328 ; sterns of Dutch yachts, 
243 ; the word " yacht," 320 

Yachting, 244, 321 et seq,; 
international yachting rules, 

Yarborough, Earl of, 323 

Yards, 181 

Yarmouth, 129, 304, 307, 315 

Yonkers, 225 

York Museum, ancient boat in, 

Yorkshire cobble, 60 

Zarebas, 22 
Zuyder Zee, 282 










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